Thai economy experts predict 3% growth despite digital wallet scheme delay

Photo courtesy of The Nation

Leading economist Somchai Phakapaswiwat foresees a 3% economic growth despite the government’s 500-billion baht handout scheme‘s potential delay.

Renowned economist Somchai Phakapaswiwat set tongues wagging yesterday, January 22, when he confidently declared that Thailand’s economic trajectory remains unscathed, poised for an impressive 3% growth, despite uncertainties surrounding the government’s 500-billion baht handout scheme.

According to Somchai, the delay in the implementation of the 10,000-baht digital wallet scheme holds no sway over the 2024 GDP growth, as its impact on the economy is deemed minimal. Contrary to concerns, he asserted that the Thai economy’s strength could propel it beyond the initially projected 3% expansion.

The government’s bombshell announcement that the digital wallet scheme might miss its May deadline for payouts sent shockwaves through the economic landscape. Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat justified the potential delay by highlighting the necessity to consider varying opinions from government agencies, especially the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

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Despite the hiccup in the fiscal 2024 budget’s implementation, Somchai remained unfazed, expressing unwavering confidence in the country’s economic expansion. Ordinarily, a budget bill is enacted before the fiscal year commences in October of the preceding year.

“Despite the delay in implementing the 2024 budget, the economy could still expand well, so I believe that even without the digital wallet money, Thailand’s economic situation will remain unchanged.”

As the nation anxiously awaits the digital wallet scheme’s launch, Somchai recommended that the government focus on alternative measures, such as tourism and export promotions, to ensure continued growth.

“There is still a vast room for tourism to expand. The digital wallet scheme is just a stimulus measure that the government has added on, in line with its election promises.”

Addressing concerns about the uncertain fate of the digital wallet scheme, Somchai highlighted the Council of State’s reluctance to provide a definitive stance. He emphasised that the government must independently evaluate the situation, considering the Council of State’s suggestion, to determine the legality of borrowing the required 500 billion baht and its compliance with the Financial Discipline Act, reported The Nation.

Somchai concluded by asserting that the only path forward for the project is for the government to demonstrate the country’s economic crisis and prove that the scheme will not compromise financial discipline.

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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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