Cabinet seeks jobs boost from water and road projects worth Bt57 billion

March 18, 20159:24 am294 views
Cabinet seeks jobs boost from water and road projects worth Bt57 billion
Cabinet seeks jobs boost from water and road projects worth Bt57 billion
THE CABINET has approved water-management and road-maintenance measures worth a combined Bt57 billion, as proposed by the Water and Flood Management Commission and the Transport Ministry, in a bid to boost the grass-roots economy via job creation.
Finance Minister Sommai Phasee said yesterday that the Bt30 billion required for the road-maintenance projects would be funded by off-budget borrowing from abroad, while Bt27 billion was being allocated for water projects as part of the government’s 12-year water-management plan.“The Bt30-billion borrowing for road-maintenance projects will be from abroad, and it will be arranged via a swap deal,” he said.

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, who chaired the meeting, added: “The job-creation measures that were approved are meant to increase economic activity.”

The Finance Ministry last month approved a Transport Ministry proposal for Bt40-billion off-budget borrowing to fix rural and provincial roads, of which Bt30 billion would be funded by foreign lending while the remaining Bt10 billion would be allocated from the 2016 fiscal budget, which commences in October.

Salinee Wangtan, chairwoman of the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand (SME Bank), said the Cabinet had also approved a low-interest-loan policy for SMEs, along with measures to help them gain greater financial access and education in marketing.

“This package to help SMEs is unprecedented because it includes measures to help them in marketing, such as assisting them to expand their business via new market channels,” she said.

The stimulus measures will also help SME operators blacklisted in the National Credit Bureau to gain greater access to financing, as some of the loan regulations for such businesses will be eased, she explained.

Salinee added that her institution currently had around Bt30 billion in non-performing loans left in the system.

Vallobh Tejapaibul, member of the executive committee at the Thai Credit Guarantee Corporation (TCG), said the low-interest lending for SMEs would have a budget of no more Bt15 billion.

An interest rate of around 4-5 per cent will be offered by SME Bank, with the government providing compensation for the additional 3-percentage-point element normally charged, while the TCG would provide a 30-per-cent guarantee for the lending, instead of the normal 18 per cent.

Meanwhile, Government Spokesman Yongyuth Mayalarp said the military-led government had disbursed around 45.56 per cent or Bt1.173 trillion of the 2015 fiscal budget as of March 13.

Some Bt1.05 trillion or 49.83 per cent of the fixed budget had been disbursed, but only 25.35 per cent of the Bt449-billion investment budget.

The government has so far signed 33 per cent or Bt148 billion worth of construction contracts under its investment projects, he added.

The current-year fiscal budget is set at Bt2.575 trillion, with a deficit of Bt250 billion.


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