BANGKOK, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Thailand's government plans to sell bonds to retail investors to pay rice farmers who have been waiting months for payment for crops sold to the state, the finance minister said on Friday.
However, Kittirat Na Ranong told reporters it would take 7-8 weeks for the sale to start.
"The government plans to sell bonds to pay for the rice-buying scheme ... and this should not bring any legal problem," he told reporters.
He added that there were many retail investors wanting to buy the bonds and said he had never asked state enterprises to take up government bonds. He gave no further detail.
Sources at the Finance Ministry said the government was planning to sell savings bonds worth 100 billion baht ($3.1 billion), which would be issued in the name of the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, the state bank that runs the rice-buying scheme.
The bonds would be backed by the ministry, and would have a maturity of either six months or one year with a coupon of around 2.75 to 3.0 percent. ($1 = 32.5850 Thai baht) (Reporting by Pracha Hariraksapitak; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Alan Raybould)
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