11 July 2024

A representative of the Bank of Thailand told the House Economic Affairs Committee today (Thursday) that there is little need for the digital wallet scheme, because private sector consumption for the first half of this year has been expanding, while the labour market is recovering steadily.

As such, claims the bank, the full potential of the scheme, as predicted by the government to justify the cost of the scheme, may not be realised.

Move Forward party-list MP Sitthiphol Vibulthanakul, head of the House Economics Affairs Committee, summed up the opinion, voiced by Daranee Saeju, assistant governor of the Bank of Thailand’s payment systems policy and financial consumer protection group, during her testimony to the committee today.

Representatives from the Finance Ministry and the National Anti-Corruption Commission were also invited to testify today.

Sitthiphol said the representative from the Finance Ministry could not provide a clear answer to the committee about the source or sources of the 560 billion baht required to fund the digital wallet scheme, apart from confirming that it will not come from the national budget.

Whether the scheme will be beneficial to the national economy or not, the Move Forward MP said the House committee must be fair to the government and is awaiting their clear explanation.

Under the scheme, all Thais 16 or older, regardless of their financial status, would receive a one-time benefit of 10,000 baht in digital money, to be wired into their digital wallet and to be spent within six months to buy goods or services in shops or other retailing outlets located within a 4km radius of their registered residence or from Blue Flag shops.