6 June 2024

The government should launch the digital wallet scheme next April, because the Thai economy will need an injection of cash for economic stimulation, otherwise it will be too late, said Sanan Angubolkul, president of the Thai Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade.

He also said that the war between Israel and Hamas is a growing negative factor, which will feed global economic uncertainty and may impact Thai exports, even though major exports categories, such as farm produce and automobiles, are forecast to grow further.

According to the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB), overall Thai exports are forecast to shrink by 1-2%, from the previous projection of 0.5-2.0%, and tourist arrivals are expected to be around 28-19 million, instead of 29-30 million as previously projected.  GDP is forecast to be 2.5-3.0% and inflation at 1.7-2.2%.

The JSCCIB is concerned that the weakening of the Thai baht against the US$, although in line with other currencies, will increase Thailand’s current account deficit through a potentially higher price of crude oil.

Sanan said that the digital wallet scheme should target people who actually need the money and should be disbursed via the existing “pao tang” application, to save the cost and time involved in developing a new application.

As the economy is recovering, Sanan said that any adjustment of minimum wages should be in line with the economic situation in each province and handled through their tri-partite wage committees.

Kriangkrai Thiennukul, president of the Federation of Thai Industries, also urged the government to launch the digital wallet scheme next April and to use the “pao tang” application for the distribution of the benefit.

He admitted that he has no idea where the government will find the money to fund the scheme, but warned that it must consider the project cautiously, to ensure it complies with the law. He also confirmed the full support of the private sector.