The Cabinet has approved a three-year debt suspension measure for 2.7 million farmers, which will start on Oct 1.
Deputy finance minister Mr. Julapun Amornvivat said that the Cabinet meeting endorsed the debt suspension measure for small-scale borrowers in line with the government’s Phase 1 policy.
The government will shoulder the interest burden of 11 billion baht annually on behalf of the agricultural debtors by borrowing the fund, financed by the state-run Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC)’s in accordance with the Financial Discipline Act.
Debt suspension will applicable for 2.7 million small-scale borrowers as of September 30, 2023, with loan amounts not exceeding 300,000 baht. These borrowers will be eligible for debt suspension in the first phase starting from October 1, 2023, to September 30, 2024.
Agricultural customers of the BAAC who wish to benefit from this measure must confirm their participation from October 1, 2023, to January 31, 2024, with a 4-month application period. NPL (Non-Performing Loan) borrowers can join the debt suspension measure by restructuring their debts to return to regular borrowers.
Moreover, the Cabinet approved capacity development for the recovery of BAAC borrowers, based on the “market-led approach, innovation enhancement, and income augmentation” principle. This initiative aims to alleviate the debt burden of agricultural borrowers in collaboration with various agencies, running parallel with the debt suspension measure. It offers an opportunity for farmers to invest, transform, or expand their livelihoods.
Regarding the debt suspension measure for SMEs operators, several state banks that serve SMEs are involved. The formulation of additional care guidelines will be expedited shortly after the Cabinet acknowledges the establishment of a working committee to define measures for debt suspension of agricultural borrowers and SMEs affected by COVID-19. (TNA)