Branding informal debt as an evil, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said last night he could not afford to let unscrupulous money lenders take advantage of their poor debtors and vowed to press on with the government’s effort to solve the informal debt problem.
In his weekly nation-wide address, he cited a government’s survey which showed that about 900,000 people, mostly low-income earners, are owing some 52 billion baht in informal debts to about 18,000 creditors.
However, he said that since July when the government launched an all-out attempt to resolve the informal debt problem, it managed to work out compromise agreements with many creditors who agreed to restructure their informal debts with more than 200,000 debtors.
For creditors who refused to cooperate with the government, he said that the centre for prevention and suppression of public frauds have resorted to legal measures against the defiant creditors, citing the achievement in reclaiming land titles deeds of over 7,000 rai of land and many cars worth altogether 3 billion baht which were seized from the debtors by their creditors.
For farmers who are indebted to the Fund for the Rehabilitation and Development of Farmers, the prime minister said the ad hoc panel tasked with solving the debt problem managed to negotiate with the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives and other creditor banks to restructure the debts of 36,000 farmers totaling 6 billion baht.
He hailed as an outstanding achievement in 19 years since the launch of the Fund that the ad hoc panel had succeeded in cutting down the total debts by half to 3 billion baht and in suspending interest payments for debts which are not more than 15 years.