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Thai money changers now asking for government help



PHOTO: 'No Commission' and no business

In a shocking reversal of fortune, money changers in Thailand, crushed by the the twin impacts of Covid-19 and the nationwide inbound flight ban, are asking for government assistance.

The catastrophic drop in tourist numbers, (76.4% in March, and expected to be near 100% for April) has forced the The Thai Association of Foreign Exchange to ask the government for an assistance package, including soft loans and income compensation for operators.

The association has submitted a letter to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, asking the government for a lifeline as the money changing business is by nature dependent on tourism.

“The money changing business has no income due the absence of customers, but operators must shoulder expenses like wages and rent and take risks incurred from the foreign exchange market’s volatility. As the government has not directly ordered the money changing business to shut down, operators cannot get any aid.”

The association, comprising hundreds of members, proposes a series of relief measures…

• the Social Security Office giving income compensation to operators

• waiving special business taxes

• offering short-term loans with a discounted rate to operators

• providing access to working capital loans to boost liquidity.

The letter adds that policymakers should expedite licence applications to enable those who are qualified to offer money transfers and e-money service, and asks the government to speed up issuance of rules and regulations to provide an opportunity for money changers to get assistance.

The Thai Bankers’ Association estimates that Thailand stands to lose 1.3 trillion baht, representing 7.7% of Thai GDP.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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