11 July 2024

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has floated the idea of weekly meeting with Bank of Thailand Governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput, after both of them met at Government House yesterday to discuss the general economic situation, inflation, interest rates and the “digital wallet” scheme.

Earlier this week, the prime minister expressed disagreement with the central bank’s increase of the policy rate, claiming that the move is in contrast with the steady decline ininflation. The central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee, unexpectedly, increased the policy rate to 2.50% in September last year and the rate was reconfirmed in November.

The prime minister told the media that the meeting had helped both of them to increase understanding of each other’s roles, as he maintained that he did not intervene in the affairs of the central bank or issue any order to the governor.

The prime minister also said that he does not want to meet with the central bank governor secretly, to avoid criticism that he may be applying pressure, adding that they should, however, meet more regularly, perhaps on weekly basis.

Regarding the controversial digital wallet scheme, which still remains in doubt vis a vis whether a loan bill can be issued to seek funding for it, the prime minister said that the matter will be discussed at the digital wallet board meeting.

The Council of State has ruled that the government must comply with the conditions contained in the Fiscal Discipline Act, if it wants to borrow 500 billion baht to fund the scheme through the issuance of a bill or an executive decree.