23 May 2024

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed the Bank of Thailand (BoT) to review the caps on interest rates charged for personal loans, which include credit cards, ready cash cards, vehicle leases, micro-finance and nano-finance.

The prime minister said yesterday (Tuesday) after the weekly cabinet meeting he wants the central bank to find ways to ease the debt burden of teachers and students, who took student loans in the wake of the third wave of COVID-19 pandemic, which has had widespread impacts on the public, who are suffering from lost revenues and increased household debt, which has risen to 89.3% of GDP.

The prime minister expects the state agencies to come up with short-term remedial measures in the next six months.

The cabinet, at its meeting on Tuesday, discussed the idea of setting up a new organization, to oversee the vehicle leasing business and microfinance, and a centre to mediate disputes on debt defaults, noting that several non-bank lenders, which are beyond the supervision of the central bank, charge higher interest rates than banks and other financial institutions.

Meanwhile, Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow admitted to delays in the implementation of the asset warehousing project, as a means of extending loans to financially-strapped businesses.

He said, however, that the government has approached the Thai Chamber of Commerce for help in convincing financial institutions to ease some restrictions, so the affected businesses can get access to funding via the project.