Srettha touts debt initiative’s success

Srettha touts debt initiative's success

About B670m dealt with in two months

Srettha touts debt initiative's success
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin speaks at a press conference on the solution to the informal debts nationwide. The Interior Ministry has been entrusted to mediate between debtors and creditors with the police acting against predatory lenders who resort to violent methods of dealing with defaulters. Chanat Katanyu

The government has managed to bring down the total amount of informal debts by 670 million baht in just two months, solving 102,000 out of 140,000 cases reported to authorities as part of the push to reduce the household debt burden.

According to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who is also finance minister, the progress is the result of extensive cooperation by all agencies tasked with solving the nation’s debt problems, including the Interior, Finance, Justice, Education, and Agriculture and Cooperatives ministries, along with several government-linked financial institutions.

He said 102,000 of more than 140,000 appeals for help received by the government since the initiative was launched on Nov 28 last year have been successfully resolved, bringing down the total amount of debt being handled by the government initiative by 670 million baht.

As of Dec 1, the initiative was handling about 9.8 billion baht in debt, which Mr Srettha pledged to clear up before his tenure as PM ends.

Speaking at a press conference on the matter on Monday, Mr Srettha said the Interior Ministry had been assigned to catalogue “off-system debts” to facilitate negotiations with informal lenders.

The RTP, meanwhile, is responsible for pursuing criminal charges against creditors that engage in illegal practices to force repayments, he said.

Other initiatives which will be launched as part of the effort to solve the nation’s ballooning household debt include “debt-solving markets”, which will be organised in every province four times a month.

Government-owned banks will offer low-interest loans to debtors who have successfully negotiated with their creditors, and local authorities will roll out courses to improve people’s professional skills to allow them to earn extra incomes, he said.

Citizens who are struggling with problems relating to debt can register for assistance at their local district office or by calling the Ministry of Interior’s Damrongdhama Centre via the 1567 24-hour hotline, according to Mr Srettha.