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Thailand set to extend funding for export-oriented SMEs


17:12, March 18, 2013

BANGKOK, March 18 (Xinhua) -- The Thai government is continuing to provide financial backing for export-oriented, small- and medium-sized enterprises as well as indigenous industry so their products will increase in both volume and value and contribute to national economic growth.

Addressing an audience of hundreds of government officials and businesspersons at a hotel in the capital on Monday, Lady Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra reassured that her government will see to it that the SMEs and so-called OTOP (one-tambon-one-product) home-made industry will be substantially promoted and given financial support from varied government banks so they will deliver more goods to the export markets and help increase the country's gross domestic product.

Earnings by the SME and OTOP manufacturing sectors were speculated to rise from 37 per cent currently up to 40 per cent of the GDP in the next five years, according to Yingluck who presided over the opening of a two-day seminar focusing on Thailand's SME and OTOP promotional schemes.

The government banks obliged to provide funding for the SME and OTOP sectors throughout the country include the Krung Thai Bank, the SME Bank, the Exim Bank, the Bank for Agriculture & Agricultural Cooperatives, the Government Savings Bank and the Government Housing Bank.

Thailand's SME and OTOP manufacturing sectors have combinedly made 1.3 trillion U.S. dollars in annual earnings and employed an estimated 11 million people, including skilled and semi-skilled workers.

"The SME and OTOP sectors are having opportunity to grow while encountering challenges in world export competition, especially among members of the AEC (ASEAN Economic Community). For that reason, the government is bound to promote those manufacturing sectors with extended, adequate financial aid," said the prime minister.

In addition, Yingluck said the government's major infrastructure and logistics development projects, for which up to 700 billion U.S. dollars in loans will be sought from within the country and abroad, will considerably accommodate the SME and OTOP sectors throughout the country.

The Yingluck government plans to borrow such an enormous sum of money over a seven-year span to rebuild the country's rail systems, especially introducing hi-speed trains, and four-lane roads to shuttle people in fast, massive fashion and link Thailand with neighboring states as well as to set up land-based logistics hubs in all regions of the country.

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