By VISARUT SANKHAM
PLAN TO 'FAST TRACK' FUNDING, BUT TRANSPARENCY IS A CONCERN
ACADEMICS in the field of economics believe the government’s project to hand out Bt5 million to every tambon across the country will help spur the economy. Yet, some of them have also expressed concern about transparency in the implementation of this |project.
Nonarit Bisonyabut, a research |fellow at the Thailand Development Research Institute Foundation, was optimistic about the Bt3.7 billion project because he saw it as a “fast track” to deliver money to local economies.
“Approval procedures are streamlined. When money reaches local areas, villagers will get the support they need to stand up on their own feet,” he said.
According to him, when economies at local level are good, the national economy will also pick up.
The Bt5-million-per-tambon scheme is part of a range of government economic stimulus packages worth about Bt260 billion.
“I’m quite sure this project will be effective,” Noranit said.
The project will benefit all 7,255 tambons in Thailand. Of them, 6,255 will get Bt5 million each before December 31. The remainder will |get just Bt3 million each because they have already received a Bt2 million grant for occupational support.
Santi Tongkaew, deputy dean of the Thai Chamber of Commerce’s School of Economics, believed the government would need to implement the project if it wanted to ease economic woes.
“Anyway, the project’s success depends on the actual amount of money that will go to the locals,” he said.
Likewise, he emphasised that the project’s ability to spur the country’s economy depended on how many local communities would really get the money.
“In general, just about 60 per cent of available resources will be used,” he said.
Santi also pointed at a possible flaw in the project to inject Bt5 million to each tambon before the end of this year.
“This means each tambon will have just three months to come up with projects. The timeframe may be too short for tambons to come up with great and sustainable projects,” he added. Apichai Pantasen, the head of Rural and Social Management Institute, said the project to inject money to tambons would not only benefit the economy but also strengthen communities.
“It will help unite communities by creating village committees,” he said.
But he did not expect any long-term economic benefits because the of money amounted to an average of just Bt500,000 per village.
“It’s just a small sum of money. So, it’s going to be like a short-term |remedy,” he said.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister General Anupong Paochinda said he hoped the Bt5-million-per-tambon grant would meet villagers’ needs, and relevant authorities were expected to ensure transparency in implementing this project.
“I have already instructed the Provincial Administration Depart-ment to clearly communicate with everyone involved in the implementation of the project that they must abide by the guidelines laid down by the Budget Bureau and the Comptroller General’s Department,” he said. He added that the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Thai Industries and joint public- private committees would help with the implementation.