Over 147,000 sign up for debt relief programme worth billions

Photo courtesy of The Nation

Some 147,714 individuals have registered for the Interior Ministry’s debt relief programme within the past three months, an initiative aimed at combating a staggering debt value of 10.74 billion baht, confirmed Permanent Secretary Suttipong Juljarern on Monday.

With the registration window, which started on December 1, set to close tomorrow, Suttipong urged those grappling with debt woes to expedite their registration process.

This concerted effort by the government stands as a robust response to the pervasive issue of illegal lending, notorious for its exorbitant interest rates and the harrowing tales of debtors falling prey to threats and violence at the hands of loan sharks.

Suttipong disclosed that a substantial majority of registrations, amounting to 122,722 individuals, were facilitated through the online platform, while the remainder opted for registration at nationwide provincial debt centres.

Bangkok emerged as the epicentre, with 11,215 individuals seeking relief, tallying a debt value of 965 million baht. Not far behind were Nakhon Si Thammarat, boasting 5,948 registrants with debts totalling 406 million baht, and Songkhla, trailing closely with 5,433 individuals burdened by debts amounting to 360 million baht.

Highlighting the progress made since the programme’s inception, Suttipong noted that 27,199 debtors have initiated negotiation proceedings, culminating in the resolution of 17,287 cases. In a significant breakthrough, creditors have consented to slash the debt value by a substantial 737.2 million baht, granting debtors extended repayment durations.

However, Suttipong lamented a notable hurdle, where some registrants faltered in furnishing comprehensive creditor details, particularly concerning loan shark syndicates, characterised by enigmatic agents operating clandestinely, reported The Nation.

These agents, known solely by their aliases to debtors, render authorities clueless regarding the masterminds orchestrating the illicit operations, thus impeding negotiation efforts.

Suttipong underscored the Interior Ministry’s commitment to harnessing existing administrative mechanisms and legal prerogatives to mediate between debtors and creditors embroiled in illicit lending activities. Cases transcending the ministry’s jurisdiction will be promptly referred to pertinent state agencies, underscoring a resolute stance against the scourge of illegal lending.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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