Thai government to give 10,000-baht digital wallet to citizens despite criticism

Picture courtesy of komchadluek

Despite facing staunch criticism from experts, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin confirmed on Friday that the Thai government will proceed with its plan to distribute a 10,000-baht digital wallet to every Thai citizen over the age of 16. This announcement comes in response to comments from Bank of Thailand (BoT) governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput, who criticised the economic stimulus policy.

PM Srettha emphasised that his ruling Pheu Thai Party is open to all suggestions regarding the digital wallet scheme. The government is committed to implementing the digital wallet scheme for an estimated 56 million people, with an expected launch date of February 1. However, the financial source for the proposed 560 billion baht budget has yet to be disclosed.

Veerathai Santiprabhob, the previous BoT governor, expressed his concerns over the digital wallet scheme on Facebook on Friday. He warned that short-term populist policies from past governments resulted in non-performing fiscal burdens that negatively impacted the economy years later.

Veerathai pointed to the rice price guarantee programme and the first car policy as relevant examples, reported Bangkok Post.

He further suggested that the current GDP-centric policy, perceived as a temporary solution, could potentially backfire and diminish Pheu Thai’s popularity in the upcoming election. He argued that other governmental projects may suffer due to the budgetary strain caused by this costly initiative.

Furthermore, this policy has been strongly opposed by a group of 99 economics experts who have collectively called for the government to abandon the scheme.

Their contention is based on the belief that the economy is already in a recovery phase, with many analysts predicting a growth of 2.8% this year and a further 3.5% in 2024.

In their joint statement, scholars, researchers, and professors in economics argued that such handouts could lead to increased inflation and interest rates.

They believe the government doesn’t have to stimulate personal consumption and should instead focus on enhancing the public sector’s capacity for investment and exports.

Follow more of The Thaiger’s latest stories on our new Facebook page HERE.

Economy NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

Related Articles