* Revenue collection is 11.2% below target in Oct-May
* Public debt at 51.6% of GDP at end-September
* Cabinet approves more soft loans worth 114 bln baht
BANGKOK, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Thailand’s cabinet on Tuesday approved a 214 billion baht ($6.87 billion) borrowing plan for a revenue shortfall in the current fiscal year to September, due to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, a government official said.
The borrowing is part of an adjusted debt management plan which now sees net new debt of about 1.66 trillion baht, up from about 1.5 trillion baht, plus some debt reductions, deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek told a briefing.
The government removed the debt of Thai Airways from the public debt plan as the carrier is no longer a state enterprise, she said.
With the new plan, the outstanding public debt will be 8.21 trillion baht, or 51.64% of GDP, at the end of the current fiscal year to Sept. 30, Rachada said.
Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy contracted by 12.2% in the second quarter from a year earlier, the sharpest since 1998, during the Asian financial crisis, as the outbreak hit tourism and domestic activity.
The finance ministry earlier said the government’s net revenue collection in the first eight months of the fiscal year (October-May) was 1.5 trillion baht, or 11.2% below target, due to the outbreak impact and tax relief measures.
The cabinet also approved soft loans worth 114 billion baht to support small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and individuals, finance ministry official Lavaron Sangsnit said in a statement.
“Although the government has introduced relief measures to mitigate the outbreak impact, some SME operators and groups of people still have no access to funding,” he said.
The government has introduced a 1.9 trillion baht ($61.19 billion) package to mitigate the outbreak impact but the drawdown has been slow.
$1 = 31.13 baht Reporting by and Orathai Sriring and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Martin Petty
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