Details of digital wallet payment to be clarified next week
Clarification of the details concerning the 10,000 baht digital handout will be announced in the coming week in line with Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s promise that the scheme would be finalised by November 10.
Sources from the government revealed that a committee meeting on the project, chaired by the PM, will consider all the project details.
Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat, in his capacity as the committee chairman, has discussed the details with various agencies including conditions, criteria, and the initial funding sources. These include changing the project’s definition from a government policy for stimulating domestic spending to supporting the country’s digital economy.
By changing the definition, the objectives of the project have been altered, and politically, this can reduce pressure on the government’s economic stimulus policies, which have already been made known to parliament.
Proposals to adjust various conditions for participation in the project have also been discussed. For example, the original conditions set for using digital wallets or digital vouchers specified that the money could only be used for certain specified goods, and not for services, thus effectively preventing self-employed professionals from being able to participate in the project. This proviso could be amended, stating that digital money cannot be used for certain services such as hair salons, beauty salons, massage parlours, spas, equipment repair shops, and car wash services. The goods expected to be eligible for digital cash usage are primarily consumer products used in daily life.
The government might also revise the spending radius for digital money usage. Originally, the government set guidelines that the handouts could only be used within a 4-kilometre radius of the registered address to encourage spending in the area and facilitate economic circulation. This could be adjusted to cover a wider perimeter.
Other options for the 10,000 baht digital cash giveaway to be proposed to the main committee include going beyond a straight giveaway to Thais aged 16 and above, totalling 56 million people, with a budget of 560 billion baht. After receiving feedback from various organisations at the committee meeting, it was observed that the direct distribution method might need adjustments, such as targeting specific groups or excluding wealthy individuals or high-income earners to reduce the project's budget.
The proposed alternative options by the committee include:
1. Targeting only registered low-income individuals, approximately 15-16 million people, requiring a budget of 150-160 billion baht.
2. Including individuals with a monthly income not exceeding 25,000 baht and a bank deposit of more than 100,000 baht, totalling 43 million people, requiring a budget of 430 billion baht.
3. Including individuals with a monthly income not exceeding 50,000 baht and a bank deposit in excess of 500,000 baht, totalling 49 million people, requiring a budget of 490 billion baht.
In the latest interview yesterday about the progress of the scheme, Srettha stressed that the government has no intention of backtracking and aims to execute the policy accurately and in accordance with the law. He added that he wants the public to understand that this system is not a corruption scheme and promised that, everything related to the 10,000 baht digital cash policy, including the procedures, timeline, and clear rules, would be made known by November 10.