No query on feasibility of digital wallet scheme sent to us, says Council of State
The Council of State says it is not to be blamed for the delay in the digital wallet scheme, because it has not received any queries on the subject yet.
Pakorn Nilprapunt, secretary-general of the Office of Council of State, said the public has been relentlessly accusing it of dragging its feet in legally interpreting the controversial scheme.
However, he said, the Finance Ministry has not yet asked his office to see if the scheme can be implemented.
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who also holds the Finance portfolio, had resolved to get the Finance Ministry to pose this question to the Council of State.
Pakorn said it is the Council of State’s duty to see if the scheme can be legally launched. If it finds it can be done, then the Finance Ministry will draft a bill to borrow 500 billion baht to finance the scheme, Pakorn said.
“This morning, I asked the deputy finance minister [Julapun Amornvivat] about the letter that was supposed to be sent to the Council of State. I was criticised for working too slowly, even though nothing has been sent to me yet,” he said.
He added that Julapun has agreed to look into the matter.
“The Office of National Economic and Social Development Council [NESDC] also asked me, because it thought the question has already been sent.”
When asked if the Council of State would provide a solution if it finds that the 500 billion baht loan cannot be taken, Pakorn said the council only has the duty of answering “yes” or “no”.
“The government should not ask how it can be done because we are not policy setters,” Pakorn said.
The ruling Pheu Thai Party had promised all Thais aged 16 and above a handout of 10,000 baht digital wallet when campaigning for votes. Later, the scheme was adjusted to only cover those who earn less than 70,000 baht a month and/or have less than 500,000 baht in their bank accounts. However, the scheme has been criticised by many as they believe it may possibly be breaking the charter and the Financial Disciplinary Act.