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Thai PM vows to tackle informal debt to revive economy

Pheu Thai's Srettha Thavisin arrives at the party headquarters before a royal endorsement ceremony after Thailand's parliament voted in favour of his prime ministerial candidacy, in Bangkok, Thailand August 23, 2023. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand will prioritise tackling informal debt to revive the economy, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said on Tuesday.

“Informal debt is like modern-day slavery that destroys dreams … and a chronic problem,” he told a press conference, adding the government would coordinate with police to prevent unregulated lending.

He said the measures, to solve one of the region’s worst household debt problems, will help with debt restructuring and prevent people from taking on more debt that necessary.

The government estimates there is about 50 billion baht ($1.43 billion) of informal debt, he said, adding that this was a conservative estimate and the problem could be larger.

“In the past we didn’t take this problem together. We are more proactive, involving the administration, police and the finance ministry working together,” Srettha said.

Thailand will also be taking on formal debt, in a country where household debt is about 90% of gross domestic product (GDP).

($1 = 34.9100 baht)

(Reporting by Orathai Siring, Chayut Setboonsarng and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Martin Petty, Kanupriya Kapoor)

Source: The Star

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