11 July 2024

Disbursement of the Bt10,000 digital money under the “digital wallet” scheme may be delayed until next September, said Pichai Chunhavajira, an advisor to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.

He added the “pao tang” application will be used instead of developing a new application for distribution of the money,

Speaking at a forum on “Various Opinions on the Digital Wallet Scheme”, held Monday by Senate committees, Pichai said that the original idea, that all Thais, aged 16 and over, regardless of their financial standing, will be eligible to receive a one-time Bt10,000 benefit, will have to be adjusted, with the likelihood that those considered to be “high-income earners” will be excluded from the scheme, because paying them would not help to stimulate the economy.

He also said that the idea of developing of a new application, reported to have used blockchain technology, for the distribution of the money may be scrapped because of the high cost of the development and the time it would require.

He said that the “pao tang” application, which was used by the Prayut administration for the distribution of benefits to stimulate the economy during the COVID pandemic, may be used instead, adding that the review and approval of the scheme by parliament may delay the distribution of money until next September.

Former finance minister Phisit Li-atham claimed that the digital wallet scheme is unsustainable, as he urged the government to rethink and focus on reducing production costs and increasing capacity, instead of relying on spending by consumers to stimulate the economy.

He also warned that the government is at risk of breaking the law by not adhering to financial discipline if it presses ahead with the scheme.

Meanwhile, Supavud Saicheua, managing director of Merrill Lynch Phatra Securities, said he believes the recipients of the benefit will be able to manage the money which, he added, will help stimulate the economy and tourism, among others.

He said critics of the scheme are too obsessed with the source of the funding for the scheme.