Thailand’s planned digital wallet scheme, aimed at distributing 10,000 baht (approximately $274) to citizens aged 16 and above, is facing delays and increasing scrutiny from critics who are calling for an investigation by the country’s electoral commission. Originally reported by the Bangkok Post, Thailand’s Deputy Finance Minister, Julapun Amornvivat, announced a delay in the launch of the new digital wallet, which was initially scheduled for February 2024.
Thailand offers programs to help citizens with finances
The purpose of this digital wallet is to provide eligible citizens with a financial boost to stimulate the local economy. Amornvivat stated that the delay is intended to allow more time for the development of the system and to ensure the security of the digital grant wallet. Despite the postponement, the government maintains that the launch will still occur within the first quarter of 2024. Reports from Thailand indicate that the sub-committee responsible for the program is currently deliberating over the source of funds for the scheme.
The digital wallet initiative, proposed by the Pheu Thai Party, is estimated to cost 548 billion baht, equivalent to $15 billion. The government initially anticipated that the scheme would boost economic growth by 5% in the following year. Amornvivat also suggested that increased economic activity resulting from the scheme would generate additional tax revenue, which could help offset a portion of the program’s cost. One of the vocal skeptics of the project is former Thai senator Rosana Tositrakul. She has raised concerns about the digital handout, prompting her to request that the election commission investigate the legality of the proposed scheme.
Tositrakul’s skepticism primarily centers around the funding of the initiative. The Thai government is considering using its national budget to fund the digital wallet program. However, questions have arisen regarding the adequacy of funding and the possibility of raising debt to cover the costs of the initiative. These concerns have led Tositrakul to challenge the legality of the entire scheme. The digital wallet initiative in Thailand, which aims to distribute financial support to eligible citizens, is facing a delay in its planned launch. Originally scheduled for February 2024, the launch has been postponed to allow more time for system development and to ensure the security of the digital grant wallet.
Debate ensues over funding and legal scrutiny
The Thai government’s objective with this digital wallet is to provide eligible citizens with 10,000 baht, which is approximately $274, as an economic stimulus measure. The delay, however, has not affected the government’s commitment to launching the program within the first quarter of 2024. The program’s sub-committee is currently grappling with the challenge of identifying the source of funds for this substantial initiative. The estimated cost of the digital wallet scheme, proposed by the Pheu Thai Party, is 548 billion baht, equivalent to $15 billion.
Initially, the government had high expectations for the program, anticipating that it would stimulate economic growth by 5% in the subsequent year. The Deputy Finance Minister, Julapun Amornvivat, also suggested that the increased economic activity resulting from the initiative would generate additional tax revenue, which could be used to partially offset the program’s costs. However, former Thai senator Rosana Tositrakul has emerged as a vocal critic of the project, raising concerns about its legality. Tositrakul has taken the step of requesting the election commission to investigate the proposed scheme. Her primary skepticism revolves around the funding of the digital wallet initiative.
The Thailand government is contemplating the utilization of the national budget to fund the digital handout, but this approach has raised questions regarding the sufficiency of funding and the potential need to incur debt to finance the initiative. These concerns have led Tositrakul to challenge the overall legality of the program. The delay in Thailand’s digital wallet scheme aimed at providing financial support to citizens reflects the complexity and challenges associated with large-scale economic stimulus initiatives. While the government remains committed to the program, the questions surrounding its funding and legality underscore the importance of thorough examination and careful planning when implementing such initiatives.