37 Billion Baht To Help SMEs

Office Workers Thailand

The cabinet has agreed to disburse a 37-billion-baht budget to finance a subsidy programme aimed at sustaining the job market for SMEs, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said yesterday.

The programme was designed to help them retain employees. It covers financial assistance for employers in this group who are members of the social security fund (SSF).

Subscribers to the fund will qualify if they employ no more than 200 Thai nationals. There are 394,621 such businesses nationwide hiring a total of four million Thai employees, according to Mr Wangboonkongchana.

Included in this, the government will provide a 3,000-baht subsidy to assist with the monthly pay of each employee for three consecutive months starting from this month.

The same subsidy will also be offered to owners of SMEs that recruit new employees for two straight months.

Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin said the programme was created to support the reopening of the country as substantial manpower will be required to restart the economy.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has expressed concern about many SMEs struggling under the crushing impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

SMEs make up about 50% of the full-time employees insured by the social security system.

The minister said Gen Chan-o-cha observed that during the pandemic most of the people who lost their jobs worked at SMEs.

The minister stressed that SMEs must meet one more condition in order to be eligible to benefit from the promised aid package.

Firms interested in applying must have shed no more than 5% of their workforce during the crisis, he said.