Thai government’s digital wallet scheme under scrutiny

Picture courtesy of prachachat

The Thai government’s digital wallet policy, specifically the planned usage of funds from the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) to support the initiative, will continue to be scrutinised by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). The agency has previously raised concerns about potential corruption and legal risks linked to the 10,000 baht distribution scheme and will observe the government’s efforts to address these issues.

Niwatchai Kasemmongkol, who serves as the secretary-general and spokesperson for NACC, stated that the commission’s actions are geared towards preventing and discouraging corruption. If any specific concerns arise, the agency will investigate the details and propose further advice to the government.

Last October, the NACC formed a panel to examine the scheme. This panel, in its recommendations to the government, flagged potential violations of financial and fiscal discipline regulations and possible exploitation by corrupt individuals.

“The NACC can’t prohibit the government from implementing policies. The government is responsible for running the country and should receive fair treatment in the process,” Niwatchai stated.

Related news

The agency, he added, has the power to scrutinise BAAC’s spending and will verify whether the planned use of BAAC’s funds for the digital wallet scheme aligns with the laws that govern the bank’s operations.

The government recently made the decision to use three sources of funds, rather than loans, to finance the 500 billion baht (US$ 13.6 billion) scheme. This funding comprises 175 billion baht (US$ 4.76 billion) from the fiscal 2024 budget, 153 billion baht (US$ 4 billion) from the fiscal 2025 expenditure budget, and 172 billion baht (US$ 4.67 billion) from the BAAC, which will be distributed to 17.23 million farmers.

Digital wallet

Niwatchai pointed out that while the digital wallet policy differs from the corruption-laden rice-pledging scheme implemented by the Yingluck government, there are areas of concern, such as potential collusion.

“The fund [for farmers] is initially earmarked for purchases of agriculture-related supplies, so we have to examine if there are many suppliers available and if farmers are required to buy from certain suppliers,” he said.

Paopoom Rojanasakul, the newly appointed Deputy Finance Minister, stated yesterday that the digital wallet scheme is designed to create economic whirlwinds to rejuvenate the Thai economy. Speaking at the Pheu Thai Party’s 10 Months Without Waiting, Moving Forward to Achieve 10 out of 10 events, he outlined how the economy will be stimulated as people spend their 10,000 baht (US$ 270), reported Bangkok Post.

Paopoom explained that the increased activity from recipients and participating stores will encourage the manufacturing sector to boost production, leading to more employment. This chain reaction generates more income, enhancing purchasing power and overall expenditure.

Thailand News

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.

Related Articles