Thailand delays legal advice on digital wallet funding

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

The Thailand government has not yet sought legal advice from the Council of State regarding the use of funds from the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) to partially finance the digital wallet scheme, confirmed Pakorn Nilprapunt, Secretary-General of the Council.

Pakorn clarified that the government does not need to consult the council if it plans to use money from the national budget for the handout scheme, as it has the authority to manage budget spending independently.

Regarding the potential use of the national budget’s central fund for the scheme, Pakorn noted that the Budget Bureau oversees this fund, which is reserved for emergency purposes. The bureau will evaluate if the request to use the central fund aligns with its criteria.

The government announced plans to allocate 172 billion baht from the BAAC as one of the three main funding sources for the digital wallet programme. However, this plan faces legal challenges since the BAAC is legally restricted to providing financial assistance only to farmers, not for broader economic stimulus.

The Cabinet approved a 3.75-trillion-baht budget for the 2025 fiscal year on May 28, set to commence on October 1 and conclude on September 30 next year. Of this, 152.7 billion baht from the budget’s central fund is designated to partially finance the handout scheme.

Deputy Government Spokesperson Rudklao Intawong Suwankiri revealed that the government also approved a bill yesterday, July 9, to allocate 122 billion baht from the 2024 fiscal budget for the same purpose. The bill will be presented in Parliament for a first reading next week.

From the 122 billion baht, 111 billion baht will be sourced from a budget deficit, with the remaining funds redirected from other segments of the 2024 spending, as stated by the Budget Bureau.

Lavaron Sangsnit, permanent secretary for finance, indicated that the government must wait for the 2025 fiscal year’s budget bill to pass through Parliament before seeking the Council of State’s advice on the handout scheme.

The 3.75-trillion-baht budget bill for the 2025 fiscal year successfully passed its first reading in the House of Representatives on June 21 and is currently under examination by a vetting committee, reported Bangkok Post.

Bangkok NewsEconomy NewsPolitics NewsThailand News

Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

Related Articles