Government counters MFP allegations over 10,000 baht digital handout scheme

Picture courtesy of ThaiPost

A counter-strike against the Move Forward Party’s (MFP) allegations has been launched by the government, concerning the unlikely reception of its 10,000 baht digital money handout. The opposition party has claimed that the government, with the details of the scheme unveiled on Friday, is attempting to backpedal on its promise of financial assistance.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin rebuked MFP Deputy Leader Sirikanya Tansakun’s critique.

“Don’t expect others to always be just as you think they are. Don’t politicise the government’s honest intention and determination to improve the living standard of people, and stop confusing the public.”

The government has declared its intention to pass a bill permitting the borrowing of 500 billion baht (US$ 13,757,755,000) to finance the scheme. However, Sirikanya expressed her apprehension that the bill could be deemed unconstitutional and in violation of the financial and budgetary discipline law. She opined that the scheme was not sufficiently critical to warrant such an extensive borrowing of funds.

Presenting a contrary viewpoint, Pheu Thai Party spokesperson Danuporn Punnakan emphasised the essentiality of stimulating the economy by inducing funds into the system to foster grassroots-level expenditure.

The proposed handout applies to individuals aged 16 and above, earning less than 70,000 baht a month, and possessing less than 500,000 baht in their bank accounts, reported Bangkok Post.

Approximately 50 million people, a decrease from the initial 54.8 million, are considered eligible for the handout after excluding those earning more than 70,000 baht a month or having over 500,000 baht in savings.

Contrary to Sirikanya’s view, the government regards economic stimulation as an urgent need, particularly considering the presently low purchasing power at the grassroots level. The handout scheme is intended to distribute funds impartially to the grassroots, as opposed to selective groups, as per Danuporn.

“The MFP might not see this as an urgent need. But we, Pheu Thai MPs, are well aware that those people are having difficulties. And what the government is trying to do is raise public confidence, which is important for economic stimulation.”

In relation to concerns surrounding financial and budgetary discipline, the government is not singularly handling this project. The National Economic and Social Development Council and the Bank of Thailand are supervising it. Numerous perspectives were considered when the government revised its project before the announcement on Friday.

The public opinion on the scheme is divided. While some individuals, such as Wandi Khaosanit, a 60 year old online lottery vendor, disagree with the scheme stating that not everyone with more than 500,000 baht in their accounts is wealthy, others like vendors in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen, voice their support despite concerns about the financial burden resulting from the borrowing.

Thailand 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.

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