May 31, 2014 00:00 By Watchara Bussayanawin
A budget of Bt12 billion earmarked to develop their potential
The Office of SMEs Promotion (OSMEP) has drawn up eight measures, requiring a budget of about Bt12 billion, to assist Small-to-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) adversely affected by the over six months of domestic political instability, Patima Jeerapaet, director-general of the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion (OSMEP) said.
The OSMEP, together with state and private agencies, has come up with measures to help SMEs in terms of finance, marketing, management, cost control, financial liquidity improvement, expanding marketing channels, and developing the potential of SME operators in various areas through eight projects with a budget of about Bt12.78 billion.
1 The Thai Credit Guarantee Corporation (TCG)’s loan-guarantee fee compensation to SMEs should lessen expenses and boost financial liquidity with a lower loan-guarantee fee at 1.75 per cent in the first year for 5,000 SME operators, with a budget of Bt262.80 million.
2 The SMEs Restart project will improve financial liquidity and lower banks’ interest expenses in cooperation with SME Bank, Government Savings Bank and Krungthai Bank. Loan interest compensation for SMEs would be at 3 per cent per annum for Bt1 million loan per applicant, totalling 10,000 cases for three years. The Bt800 million required for this project will come from the Central Fund.
3 Investment in micro-credit to help small business operators access loans without collateral/guarantees at reasonable interest rates.
4 Establish a markets network (via major department stores, SME@click, digital content for online marketing channels, such as TV Shop Channel, Smartphone Shopping and E-Marketplace) on a long-term basis through cooperation between OSMEP and the Commerce Ministry and the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), the ICT Ministry and other agencies. The aim is to help 500 SMEs with a budget of about Bt95 million.
5 Promote healthcare/medical service-related businesses to help Thailand become a hub for such service and related businesses in Asean in conjunction with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the Public Health Ministry and various other agencies for a period of three years, funded by a budget of about Bt250 million a year.
6 Upgrade local SMEs and develop merchandise distribution centres at five border areas to facilitate the rapidly growing border trade in cooperation with the Industry Ministry, Commerce Ministry, Federation of Thai Industries, the Thai Chamber of Commerce and provinces bordering four countries for a period of three years, for 4,500 SMEs with a budget of about Bt225 million.
7 Project to upgrade/renovate machinery to lower the interest burden on SMEs; compensate interest expenses of 1,000 SMEs at 5 per cent per year with a maximum credit line of Bt3.5 million per SME for a period of three years at a budget of about Bt3.1 billion.
8 Vehicles and automotive components testing and research/development centre to support the Thai automobile industry, which is worth no less than Bt1.7 trillion. This would benefit numerous SMEs who are part of the vehicles production/assembly industry. The project will span three years with a Bt8.05-billion budget.