Budget for digital wallet scheme reduced to THB450 billion


The government will scale down the budget for the digital wallet scheme from 500 billion baht to 450 billion and will drop the plan to use 170 billion baht from the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, according to Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat.

Julapun said on Wednesday that the decision to scale down the budget and cancel the plan to borrow from the BAAC was reached during a meeting of his subcommittee in charge of steering the digital wallet scheme.

Julapun said the subcommittee reached the decision after concerns were raised by the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), which warned the government against setting a budget for the scheme too high as to lead to corruption.

Julapun said after his panel received the warning from the NACC, the Finance Ministry assigned the Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) to study the issue.

Julapun said the FPO found that most of the government’s schemes got participation from 90% of eligible people so the Budget Bureau had proposed the reduction of the budget to 450 billion in line with the expected participation by 90% of eligible recipients for the 10,000-baht handout.

Julapun said the reduction of the budget would be proposed to the full national digital wallet policy committee, which is chaired by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, during its meeting on July 15.

Julapun said the government would know the number of actual recipients after the registration of eligible recipients at the end of September.

Budget for digital wallet scheme reduced to THB450 billion

“Both the Finance Ministry and Budget Bureau do not see the need for the government to allocate a budget higher than the expected actual spending at 450 billion,” Julapun said.

If the number of registered recipients reached 50 million, the government would be able to allocate a budget to meet the number of recipients.

With the scaling down of the budget, Julapun said the 450 billion baht would come from the budgets for fiscal years 2024 and fiscal 2025:

● 160 billion baht from FY 2024 – an amount of 122 billion baht would come from the additional budget act and 40 billion baht more would be trimmed from other spendings.

● 285 billion baht from FY 2025 – 152.7 billion baht from the annual budget and 132.3 billion from cuts to other spendings.

With the trimming of the budget, the government would not have to worry about breaching the financial discipline act by using money from a state bank, Julapun added.

He added that his subcommittee also voted to put electric appliances, electronic gadgets and communication gadgets on the negative list, which could not be bought with the 10,000-baht handout.

He clarified that smartphones could not be purchased with the 10,000-baht handout.

The decision of his subpanel would have to be endorsed by Srettha’s committee, Julapun said.

The subpanel also adhered to the same old criteria for eligible recipients:

● They must be 16 years old as on September 30.

● They must have no more than 500,000 baht savings as on March 31, 2024.

● Their earnings during the 2023 tax year must not be more than 840,000 baht.