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Eur Arthorn low cost housing project attracts thousands of applicants

Government’s assets conversation scheme aims to wipe out poverty in six years

SET joins with private organizations to boost competitiveness

Eur Arthorn low cost housing project attracts thousands of applicants

Supatatt Dangkrueng

The Head of the National Housing Authority Chiang Mai Office, Sayma Wichaiyo, told a press conference at City Hall that 7,466 Chiang Mai residents have applied to be in the lucky draw for low cost housing.

The Eur Arthorn Project has been set up to provide residences for lower salary earners. Thailand-wide, this project is going ahead in 4 areas in Bangkok and 1 in Chiang Mai, at Nong Hoi. The plan calls for building 11 five story condominiums with 640 units. 474 units will be 24 square meters and 166 units will be 33 square meters. 4,430 people have applied for the larger units, with only 3,036 people looking for the 24 square meter condominiums.

Authorities say it will take about three months to check the eligibility of the applicants, after which there will be a lucky draw on June 15th this year, live on Channel 11.

Those who win the right to stay in this housing project would pay only 1,000 baht a month to buy the 24 square meters units and 1,500 baht for the 33 square meter units.

Government’s assets conversation scheme aims to wipe out poverty in six years

According to the government’s assets conversion program, owners of non-transferable land titles; intellectual property rights; machinery ownership and rental rights; and occupation rights to public property can use these non-property assets as part of collateral to apply for loans.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra hopes that the scheme will give low-income earners more channels to access bank loans, which it says will boost overall lending. Thaksin has said that the program will provide a big boost for economic growth in 2004 would contribute to the eradication of poverty in the kingdom within 6 years.

“Then there will be no more people living below the poverty line of US$1 (42.9 baht) a day,” the prime minister said.

However, although local banks have paid lip service to the idea, most banks are reluctant to accept non-traditional assets as collateral. After the country’s financial crisis in 1997 Thai bankers suffered huge loses when lenders defaulted, even under the traditional lending practices. After the meltdown banks seized property assets which became non-performing burdens for years. Now the most critical criterion for loans is the borrower’s business plan.

Chatri Sophonpanich, president of the Thai Bankers’ Association, said that banks now view the viability of success in a business and its cash flow rather than collateral as the determining factor for lending.

The Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand said it had initially decided to grant loans amounting to only 30 percent of the appraised price of intellectual property rights because of their volatility, especially in the technology sector.

The government is putting pressure on the state-owned banks to cooperate with the scheme. But they have already suffered huge losses and mass defaults at this stage could leave them insolvent.

But the new scheme fits in with Prime Minister Thaksin’s plans to revitalize the nation’s economy at the grass-roots level, which include the people’s bank, the village fund, and debt forgiveness for small farmers. (TNA)

SET joins with private organizations to boost competitiveness

The Stock Exchange of Thailand and the Market for Alternative Investment have teamed up with three private organizations in a bid to boost competitiveness of entrepreneurs in the business and industrial sectors.

They include the Federation of Thai Industries, Securities Companies Association and Investment Bankers’ Club.

Speaking after the signing ceremony, SET president Kittirat Na Ranong said the cooperation among the five organizations was aimed to develop and promote Thai business and capital market.

Entrepreneurs in the industrial sector, particularly members of FTI, would be given a quick access to advisory services by SET and MAI in case they wanted to raise funds in the stock market.

He said FTI members would also obtain a privilege to participate in training courses and seminars held by SET, MAI and the Securities Companies Association.

As well, SET will help them develop good corporate governance within the organizations.

Prapat Pothivorakul, chairman of FTI, said members with growth potential would be selected to list on SET and MAI.

FTI will also participate in road shows to be held by SET in provinces in different regions, including Petchaburi, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chon Buri, Songkla and Lampoon.

He said FTI wanted members in both Bangkok and provincial areas to realize the importance of the long-term capital source in strengthening business and boosting competitiveness. (TNA)