Thailand govt showers more soft loans for troubled tourism sector; 10 new imprted Covid-19 cases on Tuesday (Nov 3)

Thai PM Prayut Chan-O-Cha chairing the Cabinet meeting in the resort city of Phuket on Tuesday.The government will offer more soft loans to support tourism businesses hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, said Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith after Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting in Phuket. - The Nation Thailand/ANN

BANGKOK, Nov 3 (The Nation Thailand/ANN): The Cabinet approved raising the ceiling for government soft loans from Bt20 million to Bt100 million. The Government Savings Bank (GSB) will apply annual interest of 0.01 per cent to banks who offer the loans to tourism businesses.

The two-year loans are being offered by commercial banks at annual interest of 2 per cent.

The soft-loan scheme has also been extended to June 30 next year, said Arkhom.

The Thai Credit Guarantee Corporation (TCG) will provide loan guarantees worth Bt57 billion, for which small and medium-sized businesses will also be eligible.

The TCG will collect a 1.75 per cent annual insurance fee from the third year of borrowers’ eight-year contracts.

The GSB will also extend its Bt5-billion soft-loan scheme for micro businesses engaged in tourism activities and supply chains to June 30 next year.

Each can borrow up to Bt500,000 on a five-year term with no repayments in the first year and annual interest of 3.99 per cent.

The Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand will extend its Bt10-billion cash loan scheme until June 30 next year. Individuals or SME’s can borrow up to Bt3 million on a five-year term at 3 per cent interest in the first two years.

To help airlines to reduce costs, the Cabinet approved cutting tax on jet fuel from Bt4.726 per litre to Bt0.20, effective from November 3 at midnight until April 30 next year.

The tax cut will cost Bt700 million, but the government expects it to help boost travel and tourism by keeping prices low. The Transport Ministry will also ask Thai airlines not to raise fares too high, said Arkhom.

Airlines have requested soft loans worth Bt24 billion, but the Finance Ministry would look into details before sending requests to Cabinet for approval, he said.

The Finance Ministry expects the new financial aid will cover everyone in the tourism industry and ease their burdens during the Covid-19 crisis, he added.

Meanwhile, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration reported 10 new cases in quarantine facilities over a 24-hour period on Tuesday.

All the cases were asymptomatic. From the 10 cases - five were Thai nationals and the other five remaining cases were a 12-year-old Azerbaijani boy, a 34-year-old Russian woman and three men from Bangladesh, France and Israel.

Meanwhile, 10 patients have recovered and been discharged.

The total number of confirmed cases in Thailand increased to 3,797 (849 in state quarantine), 133 are in hospital and 3,605 have recovered and been discharged and 59 have died.

According to Worldometer, as of 10am on Tuesday, the total number of confirmed cases increased to 47.31 million (up 472,997), 34 million have recovered, 12 million are active cases (86,553 in severe condition) and 1.2 million have died (up by 5,706).

Thailand ranks 147th for most cases in the world, while the US has the most number with 9.56 million, followed by India 8.26 million, Brazil 5.55 million, Russia 1.65 million and France 1.46 million. - The Nation Thailand/Asian News Network

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