Teachers to get reprieve on debts

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Teachers will soon have their debts burden relieved after the cabinet yesterday agreed with the proposal of the Finance Ministry to help clear their overwhelming financial burdens.

Government spokesperson Maj-Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd said that the cabinet agreed to let the Government Saving Bank offer soft loans to debt-stricken teachers to refinance their debts owed to the bank and the Education Ministry.

But he said teachers wishing to join the refinancing package will have to use future pension payments to their heir as collateral to secure the loan.

The future pension payments include money their heirs will receive from the cremation welfare fund of the Welfare Promotion Commission for Teachers and Education Personnel Office and inheritable pensions.

The refinancing package carries an interest rate of 4 percent which is lower than the rate of 5.75-6.70 percent at which debt-stricken teachers now have to pay to the bank.

He said some 283,000 debt-ridden teachers are expected to benefit from the measure.

He went on saying the measure should help reduce debt worth 300,000-600,000 baht for each teacher and cut their monthly repayment burden by 2,000-4,000 baht.

The latest measure came after the Education Ministry and the Government Saving Bank agreed to temporarily suspend legal action against teachers who default their debt payment, and to postpone their debt settlement deadline.

The cabinet has agreed to the financing package because it perceives that the measures of Education Ministry and the Government Saving Bank are insufficient to help teachers overcome their debt burdens, the spokesman said.

He added that the measures could only address financial problems of 1,000 of 51,000 debt-ridden teachers and settle debts worth 1.3 billion baht out of total 72 billion baht owed by the teachers.