Thai government to stimulate economy with digital wallet scheme

Picture courtesy of Bangkok Post

The Thai government reaffirmed its commitment to launch the digital wallet scheme in May, a key policy of the ruling Pheu Thai Party. The scheme, financed by a 500 billion baht (US$14,518,005,000) loan, aims to inject 10,000 baht (US$290) into the digital wallet of every Thai citizen aged 16 and above as a means to stimulate the economy.

The government is leveraging the advice of the Council of State to ensure the flawless execution of the scheme. Prommin Lertsuridej, the Prime Minister’s Secretary-General, clarified that the loan bill for the digital wallet scheme is legitimate. The input from the Council of State would merely assist in implementing the scheme more efficiently.

The government had previously sought the council’s advice on the feasibility of enacting the loan bill to fund the digital wallet scheme. Responding to queries on the potential impact of this policy on the country’s GDP, Prommin stated that the policy was part of a larger matrix of strategies intended to bolster the economy.

He indicated that the projected growth rate of 2.3% to 3.7% by the Budget Bureau for the 2024 annual spending plan didn’t account for the potential influence of the digital wallet scheme. He further assured that the government’s focus would be on strengthening the economy over four years, reported Bangkok Post.

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However, the digital wallet scheme has faced criticism. Democrat list MP Jurin Laksanawisit warned the government not to hold the Council of State accountable if the ruling did not favour the government.

Jurin questioned the government’s plan to repay the loan should the digital wallet scheme proceed, expressing doubts about its feasibility. He urged the government to prepare a contingency plan if the loan bill fails to materialise.

He also criticised the Pheu Thai-led government for seeking an additional loan of 100 billion baht (US$ 2,903,601,000), pointing out that the Pheu Thai Party has consistently been critical of previous government borrowing schemes.

He highlighted that the government intends to seek a 693 billion baht (US$ 20,121,954,930) loan for the 2024 fiscal year, which does not account for the digital wallet scheme. This, he argued, would lead to less money for investments and development due to debt repayment obligations.

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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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