Thai government’s 500 billion baht Digital Wallet Scheme hangs in the balance

Photo courtesy of Thai PBS World

The eagerly anticipated meeting of the Digital Wallet Committee has been abruptly postponed. Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai revealed that the delay hinges on the National Anti-Corruption Commission’s (NACC) awaited verdict.

Council of State’s Secretary General, Pakorn Nilprapunt advocated for the committee to seek input not just from the Council of State but also from the NACC. Last week, the Council of State issued a stark warning, asserting that any move to secure a staggering 500 billion baht for the digital wallet initiative must adhere strictly to fiscal regulations.

Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat assured the public that the committee remains committed to heeding the counsel of both the NACC and the Council of State, even as the clock ticks down to the scheduled May launch. Dismissing rumours of a downsized scheme at 300 billion baht, Julapun vehemently denied any such plans, reported Thai PBS World.

Addressing concerns about the possibility of resorting to an executive decree if a loan bill proves unattainable, Julapun remained cryptic. He stated that it depended on the situation, asserting the government’s authority to issue an executive decree if needed.

Related news

In related news, the government remains undeterred as it stands firm on its 10,000-baht digital wallet scheme, scheduled for a May launch, despite legal challenges. The Council of State recently weighed in on the legality of the government’s plan to borrow a hefty 500 billion baht to finance the scheme.

In other news, In a fiery critique that rocked the House of Representatives, Move Forward Party (MFP) MP Sirikanya Tansakun aimed at the government‘s 3.48-trillion-baht budget for 2024, labelling it a masterpiece of unprofessional blunders.

On the opening day of the budget bill’s inaugural reading, Sirikanya, the deputy leader of MFP, unleashed scathing criticism, claiming that the government had failed to craft a contingency plan for the potential rejection of its flagship digital wallet programme.

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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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