Fund set to help boost SME output, cut costs
The Department of Industrial Promotion has budgeted Bt400 million to help small and medium-sized enterprises improve production capacity and cut costs in the wake of the increase in the national minimum wage.
Deputy director-general Sirirat Jitseree said 3,000 SME operators were expected to participate in the projects.
She acknowledged that some labour-intensive industries had experienced a rise in labour cost of 25 per cent.
The department also plans to ask for a budget of Bt2 billion to promote similar projects next year, pending Industry Ministry and Cabinet approval.
Meanwhile, the International Trade Promotion Fund will ask for Cabinet approval next week to use Bt400 million to provide financial support to SMEs, which have experienced the impacts of a strengthening baht and slowing global economy, Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom said after meeting with the fund.
Of the total, Bt300 million will be for an "SME proactive" project from now through 2015, and the rest will be used during the same period as an emergency fund to ease the impacts of slowing global trade. The SME proactive project is aimed at helping reduce the costs companies face when promoting their products overseas, such as booth rentals and other marketing expenditures.
Boonsong said the Bt400-million request needed Cabinet approval because part of it would come out of the International Trade Promotion Fund's principal of Bt4.2 billion. According to regulations governing the fund, the principal cannot be used, only the interest it recoups. Therefore, the fund can normally spend only about Bt200 million a year.
As of last October, the fund had Bt207.6 million that could be spent to promote exports in fiscal year 2014.