Export-Import Bank of Thailand (Exim Bank) is putting aside 5 billion baht (US$144.88 million) for soft loans to help SMEs export their products, says Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith.
The loans are for SMEs that are members of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Thai Board of Trade, Federation of Thai Industries, and Thai National Shippers’ Council.
The lending is part of a memorandum of understanding agreed to between Exim Bank and these four organisations comprising a cooperation programme to support entrepreneurs throughout the export value chain.
The lending scheme offers an annual interest rate of 4.5% in the first year with no asset collateral required. The maximum loan is 5 million baht per borrower.
According to Arkhom, Thai exports expanded 15% in the first quarter of of this year, but the sector faces several problems, including the Russia-Ukraine war and the US-China trade war.
Exim Bank was requested to provide support to not only major exporters but also their raw material and component suppliers.
Thai SME exporters account for less than 1% of the approximately 3.1 million SMEs in the country. A total of 12 million people are employed by SMEs.
Arkhom noted that helping Thai entrepreneurs become exporters to compete in foreign markets would create job opportunities and higher incomes for SMEs, adding value to the export sector.
As a result, he said there would be benefits for the national economy as it moves towards sustainable development in economic, social and environmental dimensions, reported Bangkok Post.
State-owned financial institutions have been requested to maintain their present interest rates to assist entrepreneurs amid rising global rates.
Exim Bank president Rak Vorrakitpokatorn said the 5-billion-baht loan scheme aims to turn 100,000 SMEs into exporters within four years.
Roughly, there are 30,000 SMEs that are exporters at present.