Thai citizens set to receive government handout by year-end

Photo courtesy of The Nation

To dispense a financial lifeline, Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat unveiled plans to ensure that eligible Thais receive a 10,000 baht handout before the year’s end. The initiative, slated to be facilitated through digital wallets, hinges on a decisive timeframe to be determined by the digital wallet committee.

Speaking confidently yesterday, March 25, the minister expressed optimism that the committee, convening on April 10, would finalise the project’s intricacies and establish a roadmap for its swift execution.

“After the April 10 meeting, everything will be clear.”

Julapun outlined a timeline wherein shops could register for digital wallet payments by the third quarter, with eligible citizens following suit shortly after.

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Julapun affirmed that the system is almost ready, assuring that by the fourth quarter, before yearend, the 10,000 baht stipend would be disbursed to all qualifying recipients through digital wallets. Prior to the pivotal April 10 assembly, the digital wallet committee is scheduled to convene at Government House tomorrow to solicit updates from pertinent agencies and glean insights from diverse sectors.

During this gathering, Julapun disclosed that opinions would be sought from myriad stakeholders, emphasising the extensive consultations undertaken by the subcommittee overseeing policy implementation.

Furthermore, tomorrow’s agenda encompasses a crucial update from the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), whose reservations regarding the project’s financial implications loom large, reported The Nation.

Intriguingly, the 10,000 baht digital wallet windfall represents a flagship policy of the ruling Pheu Thai Party, initially pledged to be funded through budgetary reallocations. However, subsequent government pronouncements revealed intentions to secure a 500 billion baht loan for this purpose, inviting scrutiny and delaying the initiative indefinitely amidst concerns over economic repercussions.

ORIGINAL STORY: Thai govt’s cash splash: 500 billion baht digital wallet green light

With a budget proposal of 3.48 trillion baht (US$96.5 billion) for the fiscal year under discussion, the Government of Thailand is determined to proceed with a significant 500-billion-baht (US$13.8 billion) digital wallet handout scheme, according to Deputy Finance Minister, Julapun Amornvivat. During the parliamentary debate, Julapun stated the possible necessity of securing a loan via a bill to finance the scheme.

The initiative, designed to provide 10,000 baht to each of the 50 million Thai citizens over six months, has raised concerns regarding its funding method, with critics branding it as fiscally reckless. Despite the criticism, the government is adamant about the scheme’s implementation, Julapun confirmed.

“Should there be adjustments, we’ll likely seek consent from the Parliament members once again. But the project will assuredly proceed.”

Furthermore, the government is optimistic about attaining a balanced budget in due time. The 2024 fiscal year’s budget, ending in September, aspires to increase spending by 9.3% and reduce the budget deficit by 0.3% to 693 billion baht from the preceding year.

Upon the budget’s second and third readings in the debate, the Senate will need to approve it, followed by a royal endorsement, reported Bangkok Post.

The government anticipates the budget to be ready for deployment by the start of next month, a delay from the initial commencement date of October 1, 2023. The postponement stems from a prolonged political stalemate after last year’s General Election on May 14. The new government was established in August.

Meanwhile, in related government news, a significant financial boost of 300 million baht (US$8.3 million) has been granted by the Thai Cabinet for the development of 13 projects aimed at tourism growth across four northern provinces: Phayao, Chiang Rai, Phrae, and Nan. The decision was made during a mobile meeting in Phayao, overseen by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin during his two-day visit to the region.

On his tour, he also took time to survey the prospective location for a new airport in Phayao. During this visit, the Cabinet green-lit a proposal to establish a new Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) office in Phayao by the end of this year. This move falls in line with the broader plan to transform Phayao into the north’s primary tourism hotspot.

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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.

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