A total of 37,579 people, who claim to have incurred about Bt1.5 billion in informal debt with 19,061 creditors, have applied for help from the state in the first two days of the informal debt settlement program, said Suttipong Juljarern, the permanent secretary of the Interior Ministry, on Sunday.
The five provinces with the largest number of applications filed are:
- Bangkok: 2,496 applications, Bt131.8 million owed to 1,492 creditors
- Songkhla: 1,610 applications, Bt72.3 million owed to 794 creditors
- Nakhon Si Thammarat: 1,489 applications, Bt49.7 million owed to 826 creditors
- Nakhon Ratchasima: 1,441 applications, Bt61.8 million owed to 638 creditors
- Samut Prakan: 965 applications, Bt38.5 million owed to 485 creditors
Suttipong urged informal debtors, who are yet to apply for help, to do so in person at their provincial hall or district office, including those in Bangkok, or online via https://debt.dopa.go.th.
Alternatively, they can seek consultation by calling the Damrongtham Centre on 1567.
He offered an assurance that any information provided to officials will be kept confidential and that creditors or their representatives who harass, intimidate or harm debtors will be dealt with in accordance with the law.
Settlement of informal indebtedness is being treated as a top priority by the Pheu Thai-led government. Officials estimate that 50 billion baht is owed to informal lenders, but Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin believes that this in an underestimate.
Meanwhile, Minister of Social Development and Human Security Varawut Silpa-archa said he will propose a cut interest rates, charged by state-run pawn shops on loans not exceeding 5,000 baht, to the cabinet on Monday.