PUBLISHED : 13 Feb 2024 at 06:49
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on Monday defended the need to push for the 10,000-baht digital wallet scheme.
He made his remark in response to a statement made by Move Forward Party (MFP) deputy leader Sirikanya Tansakul on Sunday.
Ms Sirikanya said that the government should draw up a backup plan due to the uncertain fate of the digital wallet scheme and suggested that her party did not see the rollout of the scheme as a cure-all for the country’s many problems.
In addition, the fate of the scheme hinges on the decision of the government’s digital wallet policy committee that will meet on Thursday.
“If the government truly wants to see the economy recover, it needs a backup plan as the fate of the country cannot hinge on just one policy [the 10,000-baht digital handout],” Ms Sirikanya said. She also suggested the government speed up the process to include the digital wallet policy in the annual budget expenditure plan.
Mr Srettha conceded that the government had not previously done enough to communicate the details of the digital wallet scheme to the public.
He said he is now ready to clear up any public doubts, insisting that the scheme will help improve the country’s economic situation.
The premier added said he will clarify all aspects of the policy at the committee meeting on Thursday.
Last week, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) released the results of its own feasibility study into the scheme, which indicated it may be prone to exploitation or corruption.
Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat said on Monday the findings have been submitted to Government House and will be examined by the cabinet today.
The loan bill will not be brought up in the panel meeting this week, he added.
The NACC has warned the government about a range of potential pitfalls tied to the scheme, from graft to legal risks while insisting the economy is not yet facing a crisis.
The digital wallet handout is the flagship policy of the Pheu Thai-led government to stimulate the economy, with 10,000 baht to be handed out to 50 million Thais.
The legality of the scheme has been called into question. However, the government plans to request a 500-billion-baht loan to fund it, which goes against the party’s election campaign promise that it would not resort to taking out any loans.