Thailand: Soft loans planned for struggling airlines, tax break on jet-fuel extended as only five Covid-19 cases reported

Images from The Nation Thailand/Asian News Network

BANGKOK, Sept 22 (The Nation Thailand/ANN): The Government Savings Bank (GSB) is planning to offer soft loans with annual interest of 2 per cent to airlines hit by the Covid-19 fallout. The loan term will be 60 months.

The package will be sent to the Cabinet for approval soon, said GSB chairman Patchara Anuntasilpa. The move would help revive Thailand’s tourism industry, seen as vital for economic recovery, he added.

The loans will be offered via the Export-Import Bank of Thailand.Meanwhile the airline industry is getting more support after the Excise Department decided to extend the jet-fuel tax cut for low cost airlines.

The tax cut of 20 satang per litre will be extended for another six months from the end of September. The department is also considering whether to waive the tax entirely, said Patchara, who is also director general of the Excise Department.Airlines have reduced their number of flights by 20 per cent from pre-Covid levels.

Previously, excise tax revenue from aviation fuel was about Bt1 billion per year. A tax exemption would not cost much in lost revenue, Patchara assured.

Excise tax collected in the first 11 months (October 2019 to August 2020) of fiscal 2020 totalled Bt503 billion, down 6.53 per cent on last year. The top five tax revenue earners were oil and oil products (Bt206 billion), cars (Bt77.7 billion), beer (Bt73.3 billion), liquor (Bt56.6 billion), and cigarettes (Bt58.1 billion).

The department estimates total tax collected for fiscal year 2020 will be Bt520 billion, higher than the revised target of Bt501 billion following the virus fallout, but lower than the original target of Bt585 billion.For the next fiscal year, the department expects to collect a total of Bt534 billion.

Meanwhile, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) reported five new confirmed cases in state quarantine over a 24-hour period on Tuesday (Sept 22).

All five cases were asymptomatic.

The patients included a family of three – 7-month-old child, 30-year-old mother and 36-year-old father – who tested positive on Saturday. They had arrived from India on Sept 16 and gone into alternative state quarantine in Bangkok.

The fourth was a 62-year-old Indian businessman who arrived in Bangkok on Sept 16 and went into alternative state quarantine.

The fifth case was a 44-year-old returnee from Switzerland, who landed in Thailand on Sept 16 and is being quarantined in Chonburi.Meanwhile, one person has fully recovered and discharged from hospital.

The total number of confirmed cases in Thailand has risen to 3,511 (573 in state quarantine), 109 of whom are in hospital and 3,343 have recovered. The death toll remains unchanged at 59.

According to CCSA, Thailand has conducted RT-PCR tests on 948,161 people, which works out to be 14,237 samples per one million people, of whom 0.37 per cent tested positive.

Half of the tests were conducted by private hospitals and the other half by state hospitals and public health agencies.

According to Worldometer, as of 10am on Tuesday, the total number of confirmed cases worldwide had risen by 230,853 to 31.48 million. Of them, 23.1 million have fully recovered, 61,808 are in severe condition, 7.4 million are in hospital and 969,290 have died.

Thailand ranks 134th in terms of the number of cases in the world, while US leads the list with 7 million, followed by India 5.56 million, Brazil 4.56 million, Russia 1.1 million and Peru 772,896. - The Nation Thailand/Asian News Network

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