11 July 2024

The Council of State says the government can proceed with promulgating a loan bill to borrow Bt500 billion to fund the digital wallet scheme, Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat said today.

He said the Council ruled that the cabinet and the digital wallet policy committee are authorised to implement the digital wallet scheme through such a bill.

He noted that the council had, however, warned that the government must strictly comply with the Fiscal Discipline Act, citing Section 53, which states that a loan bill can be issued only when there is a crisis or an urgent necessity, and Section 57, which states that the borrowing must be spent on a plan or project which is economically or socially worthwhile.

He also said that the council stated that the government must gauge the views of all stakeholders or hold public hearings.

Despite these three caveats, Julapun said he believes that the digital wallet scheme should be implemented, as the economic situation is fragile. People in general are suffering economic hardships and are expecting an economic stimulus package from the government.

“For the time being, no one can say with certainty that the country is actually in economic crisis or not,” said Julapun, adding that the Finance Ministry and the digital wallet committee must come up with a “scientific answer” to the economic situation in Thailand.