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Finance Ministry plans measures to boost SMEs

The Finance Ministry says it will come up with measures to assist small and medium-sized enterprises in order to boost gross domestic product in the second half of this year with the cooperation of state and private commercial banks.

Meanwhile, the ministry is confident that revenue collection and state expenditure will be in line with targets.

Permanent secretary Rungson Sriworasat said it was necessary for the state to help SMEs grow because they account for a large proportion of the country's business entities. The ministry's Fiscal Policy Office has been assigned to come up with plans to stimulate the economy, partly by assisting SMEs.

State and commercial banks can play a vital role in assisting SMEs by revising their loan-repayment periods, offering new loans, and other measures. It is necessary to help these businesses survive and grow to avoid adverse impacts on other sectors of the economy, he said.

As for revenue collection, Rungson has ordered the three responsible agencies - the Revenue, Excise, and Customs departments - to show how they will proceed in the next six months to fulfil the targets, which are not likely to be revised. While tax revenue might fall short, excise and customs income should compensate, so the overall target will be met.

In absence of a fiscal 2015 budget, the current budget can be used for expenditures that are not related to new investments, he said.

Most projects authorised under the fiscal 2014 budget are proceeding as intended with the exception of those exceeding Bt1 billion, which require approval from the Cabinet, he said.

Funds borrowed by the Commerce Ministry's Foreign Trade Department from the central budget to pay farmers what they were owed under the rice-subsidy programme is expected to be fully repaid by next month.

The Excise Department has submitted a request to use the central budget to facilitate the excise-tax refunds under the first-time car-buyer scheme, which will have to be proposed to the Cabinet for approval, Rungson said.


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