6 June 2024

Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat has defended Pheu Thai’s digital wallet scheme, claiming that it is intended to stimulate the grass root economy and develop digital economy infrastructure through the use of a blockchain platform.

Speaking during the debate on government’s policy statement today (Monday), Julapun assured parliament that the government will adhere to fiscal discipline and will not source the funding for the digital wallet scheme from national reserves, the social security fund, the Vayupak mutual fund or by borrowings which would increase public debt, as feared by its critics.

Regarding the restriction on the spending of the 10,000 baht for every Thai national who is 16 or older, that it must be spent in stores within a 4km radius of their residence, Julapun said that the government is collecting opinions from all stakeholders as to whether it should be 4km or more and whether the scheme will actually help to stimulate grass root economy.

He disagreed with the suggestion that big corporations should not be allowed to participate in the scheme, saying that the government has no intention to discriminate against big business.

More importantly, he said, the public should have the right to decide where they will spend the money, whether at “mom and pop” grocery stores, convenience stores or in a department store.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who is also finance minister, said that the 4km limit will be maintained as a rule, except in some rural areas, where there are only a handful of stores, then some adjustments will be made for suitability.