17 July 2024

The Digital Wallet Subcommittee has agreed to cancel its plan to borrow 172.3 billion baht from the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives Bank (BAAC) to fund the scheme, as recommended by the Budget Bureau.

The panel, chaired by Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat, also agreed at its meeting today to cut the 500 billion baht needed to implement the digital wallet scheme to 450 billion baht, after the latest assessment shows that the number of people who will claim the 10,000 baht one-time state benefit under the scheme will be less than 90% of the 50 million of the Thai population eligible.

All Thai nationals aged 16 or older, who have combined bank deposits not exceeding 500,000 baht or annual taxable income not exceeding 840,000 baht, are eligible to join the scheme.

It was originally planned that the money to fund the scheme would come from three sources: 175 billion baht from the current fiscal budget; 152.7 billion baht from the 2025 fiscal budget and 172.3 billion baht borrowed from the BAAC.

The planned borrowing from BAAC has attracted heavy criticism, particularly regarding the question of whether such borrowing may be in violation of the bank’s registered objectives.

The bank itself has surplus liquidity of about 30 billion baht and it would have to liquidate some of its current assets to meet the government’s planned borrowing. 

The sub-committee also agreed today that money from the scheme cannot be used to buy cell phones or electrical appliances.

Registration is due to start in September, followed by disbursement in the fourth quarter.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin is scheduled to provide full details about the scheme, the registration process and retail outlets interested in participating in the scheme.

At the time of this report, no further details have been made available as to where the funding, previously planned to come from the BAAC, will now be found.