Hanoi (VNA) – The Bank of Thailand (BoT) will focus on assisting businesses, especially those severely affected by COVID-19 pandemic, to restructure their debts, the bank’s Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob said on August 21.

Veerathai said that readjusting fiscal policy can help the Thai economy recover from the impact of COVID-19.

However, Veerathai said the central bank cannot lower its 0.5 percent benchmark interest rate, as it is already at a record low.

The BoT's debt restructuring scheme will allow debtors to suspend principal and interest payment for up to six months, said the governor.

Normally, debt restructuring is available together with loan offerings, said Veerathai.

He said that the additional loan guarantee scheme will support small and medium-sized enterprises that have suffered from the pandemic.

The governor said that Thai commercial banks have withdrawn more than 75 billion THB (2.37 billion U.S. dollars) of the central bank's soft loans since its implementation, with total loans amounting to more than 500 billion THB (15.8 billion U.S. dollars).

Under the conditions of the soft loan scheme, banks cannot offer credit lines to all customers, explained Veerathai./.