Vol. III No. 18 - Saturday May 1 - May 7 2004
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BUSINESS NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

GSB loans approved for people in debt

Wide range of agreements concluded with Laotian neighbours

GSB loans approved for people in debt

12 months to pay it off

The plan to alleviate poverty in Chiang Mai has been kick-started with the approval of loan sums of over five million baht for 126 applicants from Muang district. Each applicant will receive 15,000 baht.

At Chiang Mai City Hall, Government Savings Bank (GSB) director Korapoj Atsawinwijit and Chiang Mai governor Suwat Tantipat approved the funding for the government’s plan to alleviate problems caused by poverty.

Korapoj said that the distribution of the funding would offer a chance for the poor registered under the integrated development plan to eliminate debt and the money would serve as revolving capital for them to earn income and improve their quality of life.

The loans would be controlled like those of the People’s Bank and have the same loan policy of a one percent interest rate, with the debt being paid off within a year.

Korapoj said that about 250,000 people in Chiang Mai had registered under the plan. The total amount of debt was estimated at over 20.1 billion baht. This was divided into debt owed to loan sharks (2.1 billion baht) and to banks (19 billion baht, of which 1.2 billion baht was owed to the GSB itself).

The GSB would examine debts owed to both illegal and legal financial sources to see how they could be cleared. A Public Debt Office had been established with officials and staff ready to work in close cooperation with every bank.

The approach to clear debts owed to loan sharks would be carried out by setting up negotiations with them, to restructure debt payments or for refinancing the debt through financial institutions.

GSB would handle debt in the general sector, while the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives would manage debt in the agricultural sector and the SME Bank would become involved with debt incurred by small enterprises, Korapoj said.

Chaleaw Sangsuwan, vice-president of the Nong Seng community, Tambon Watgate, welcomed the joint initiative between the GSB and the government “Because it means the poor are offered a chance to earn a living and free them from debt owed to loan sharks.”

However it is difficult to see how a 15,000 baht loan will produce enough income to service the loan and pay it off within 12 months, plus interest. Another side to Amazing Thailand?


Wide range of agreements concluded with Laotian neighbours

Phu Du border crossing formalized

Autsadaporn Kamthai

The Phu Du border point in Uttaradit province is set to become a permanent border gateway, following the meeting of the Thai and Laos Border Security Committee in Chaiyaburi in Laos.

The representatives from the two countries met last week to strengthen relations between the Uttaradit province and Chaiyaburi district in Laos. Amongst many points of concordance, the committee agreed to raise the status of the Phu Du border point to become a permanent border crossing. It is located in Tambon Muang Jed Ton, in Uttaradit’s Baan Koke district and links with Park Lai City in Laos.

Uttaradit governor Preecha Butrasri and Chaiyaburi district chief officer Yueleehao signed 11 other agreements on security, business and tourism co-operation. The two countries are also strengthening social collaboration and mutual understanding, especially in the fields of education and culture.

After the signing, the committee visited several significant tourist destinations in Luang Prabang, the world heritage site former Laotian capital, to consider future tourism routes linking Sukhothai, Uttaradit Chaiyaburi and Luang Prabang.



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