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Govt’s back against the wall over digital wallet scheme

Written by Thailand News

The government now has its back against the wall over the the 500 billion baht needed to fund the “digital wallet” scheme, the timeline for which keeps moving back, said Move Forward MP Sirikanya Tansakul during the general debate on Wednesday.

After adjusting the details of the scheme five times, particularly relating to the source or sources of the funding, she said it appears that the government will resort the Central Fund of the 2024 fiscal year, the 2025 fiscal budget and borrowing from the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives.

She noted that the cabinet revised the mid-term fiscal framework on Tuesday, to increase the 2025 fiscal budget to 3.75 trillion baht and to increase, by about 150 billion baht, the amount of borrowing needed to offset the budget deficit.

She said that the money from these two increases may be used to fund the “digital wallet” scheme.

Regarding the Central Fund for the 2024 fiscal year, which may be a source of digital wallet funding, the Move Forward MP said that the government may introduce a bill to get extra money through borrowing to offset the deficit, up to the ceiling of 100 billion baht, plus another 40 billion baht to be transferred from the Central Fund.

“Some people may wonder how the budget for 2024 fiscal year can be used in the next fiscal year. Sirikanya said the trick is to put the money into a Revolving Fund but, in this case, it is likely to be the State Welfare Fund which is intended for impoverished people.

Responding to Sirikanya’s remarks, Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat urged opposition MPs to cease or reduce their speculation over the “digital wallet” scheme and wait until next Wednesday, when the scheme’s policy committee is scheduled to meet to finalise several key aspects of the scheme, such as the sources of funding and the application to be used in the disbursement of money among others.

 

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