Over 80,000 sign up for debt relief scheme

Over 80,000 sign up for debt relief scheme

Over 80,000 sign up for debt relief scheme
Members of the public attend a debt mediation fair in Nonthaburi province in November last year. (Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya)

More than 82,000 people have signed up to the government’s initiative to help distressed debtors service their obligations to informal lenders since the scheme was launched nine days ago.

According to Suttipong Juljarern, permanent secretary of the Interior Ministry, as of 3pm on Saturday, 82,753 people with debts totalling 4.3 billion baht had registered for assistance.

Those who are interested in joining the programme have until Feb 29 to sign up. They can register in person at their local district office, through the ThaID mobile application or by calling the Interior Ministry’s Damrongtham Centre’s hotline at 1567.

Bangkokians topped the list of participants, with 5,349 people owing 363.8 million baht having signed up to join the scheme as of yesterday; followed by Nakhon Si Thammarat, with 3,473 owing a total of 183.6 million baht; and Songkhla, which had 3,473 participants who owed a total of 183.6 million baht.

Three provinces with fewer than 300 participants were Mae Hong Son (110 with an accumulated debt of 4.2 million baht, Ranong (169, with debts of 12.5 million baht), and Samut Songkhram (235, with debts worth 7.2 million baht).

Mr Suttipong called on all Thais who are struggling to service their household debts to sign up, so they can start putting their affairs back in order.

On the first day of the scheme’s launch, a total of 22,900 people registered, 21,001 of whom did so online, while 1,089 people walked in to their local district offices to sign up in person. In total, they owed 935.31 million baht, according to the ministry.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who said that informal debt was both the cause and consequence of many social and economic ills, is scheduled to unveil more measures to help debtors on Monday.