WEDNESDAY, April 17, 2024

Perfectly legal to borrow 560bn for digital wallet scheme, says Phumtham

Perfectly legal to borrow 560bn for digital wallet scheme, says Phumtham

Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai said it is perfectly legal for the government to borrow 560 billion baht to finance its controversial digital wallet scheme.

Phumtham, who also doubles as deputy prime minister, said the previous government led by General Prayut Chan-o-cha had applied royal decrees to borrow 1 trillion baht to stimulate the economy. Hence, he said, the government can do the same.

Phumtham said the Pheu Thai-led coalition’s goal is to stimulate the economy, and it can be done legally through the borrowing of up to 560 billion baht.

“There should be no problem in getting a loan of 560 billion baht to stimulate the economy,” he said.

While campaigning for votes, Pheu Thai had promised that its government would hand out 10,000 baht to each Thai national aged 16 and above via a Blockchain-based digital wallet. This scheme would require a budget of 560 billion baht.

Some critics said the scheme would violate the law and many called on the government to adjust the scheme by restricting the types of recipients, so it would cost less.

Phumtham also welcomed the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC)’s recent decision to study the scheme to find out if it would violate any law.

Phutham said the government would be willing to heed any suggestions from the NACC. He said if the NACC finds the scheme violating any laws, it should come forward to work with the government to help the administration do away with such legal obstacles.

He said the handout is necessary as the country’s economy has been sluggish since the 2014 coup, and the economic stimulus will boost the country’s GDP.