SML fund axed, village fund survives

The military has scrapped the so-called SML fund but allowed the village fund to continue.

The move is part of its attempt to trim the Secretariat of the Cabinet's budget to which the funds belong.

Both funds are the initiatives of the Thaksin Shinawatra government as part of his policy to empower villagers and eliminate poverty but some view them as a populist policy.

The SML fund, short for small, medium, large - the size of the villages to which 50,000 to 300,000 baht each is allocated, let villagers decide among themselves how to solve common problems in their communities without having to wait for the central or tambon budgets which sometimes never came to the village level.

The village fund is a revolving fund from which villagers borrow and manage among themselves.

Yongyuth Maiyalarb, a spokesperson for the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), said on Tuesday the NCPO decided to let the village fund continue since its non-performing loans did not exceed 10%.

It got 26 billion baht more from the 2014 budget and has an accumulated value of 34 billion baht.

But for the SML fund, the 2014 budget of 5.7 billion baht will be cancelled, as was the 3-billion-baht fund to help SMEs in communities.

The 596-million-baht creative economy fund will be put on hold and moved its budget to the Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Office's fund.

The Thai Women Empowerment Funds initiated by former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra will be transferred to and reviewed by the Interior Ministry. 

All in all, the 9.92-billion-baht budget from scrapping or moving the funds will go to the student loan fund and the SME fund.

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