Srettha sees no problem in finding funds for digital wallet scheme
Prime Minister and Finance Minister Srettha Thavisin on Tuesday remained silent on two of the hottest issues in Thailand: the source of funds for the government’s digital wallet scheme and the appointment of the new commissioner-general of the Royal Thai Police (RTP).
After the weekly Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Srettha told media that the government would soon announce the source of funds for its biggest economic stimulus campaign, adding that “now is not the time to reveal details of the campaign as they are not ready yet”.
Srettha reaffirmed that funding of the project would be strictly under the legal framework and that he expected no problem in securing the money.
Under the Pheu Thai Party’s campaign pledge in the run-up to the May general election, every Thai aged 16 and above would receive 10,000 baht in digital money, with the aim of stimulating domestic consumption.
The money must be spent at local businesses within a 4km radius of the citizen’s registered address within six months. The party estimated that the policy could be implemented within the first half of next year with a budget of 560 billion baht.
It is speculated that the government would take a loan from the Government Savings Bank to fund the project.
Srettha also told media that he would chair the meeting at the Royal Thai Police headquarters on Wednesday as scheduled to appoint the new commissioner-general of the RTP to succeed Pol General Damrongsak Kittiprapas, who will retire at the end of this month.
Srettha said the meeting would not be postponed following the raid on the residence of deputy National Police chief Pol General Surachate Hakparn, who is among the four shortlisted candidates for police chief.
A 30-strong team of cybercrime police commandos, with a court-issued search warrant, tried to search Surachate’s home and five other houses he had bought for his subordinates on Monday over alleged involvement in illegal online gambling.
Surachate commented on Monday that the attempt to implicate him was “politics within the police force”.
Srettha on Monday ordered the formation of a committee to investigate the incident in 15 days.
The committee members comprise two civilians and one former police officer, none of whom are stakeholders in the RTP, the PM said on Tuesday.
Srettha refused to give any hint about the candidate he would choose as the next police chief, despite repeated pleading by the media.
The four candidates, ranked by seniority in career, are Pol General Roy Ingkhapairoj, Pol General Surachate, Pol General Kitirat Phanphet, and Pol General Torsak Sukwimol.