Julapun says digital wallet scheme to start on May 1


Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat claimed on Monday that the Council of State has endorsed the government’s plan to enact a bill to borrow 500 billion baht to finance the digital wallet scheme and said the scheme would kick off on May 1.

Julapun’s statement contradicts reports by several websites and TV stations that the Council of State, which is the government’s legal advisory board, had advised against the enactment of the 500-billion baht bill to finance the digital wallet scheme.

The reports quoted a source from the Council of State as saying that if the economic situation was urgent enough to warrant the borrowing of 500 billion baht, the government should instead enact an executive decree.

The source added that the council also warned the government that borrowing the funds could also violate the charter as the charter required the government to allocate a budget in the next budget bill to cover any urgent loan outside the budget. The council expressed its belief that the government would not be able to allocate 500 billion baht from the fiscal 2025 budget bill alone to cover the loan.

However, Julapan claimed that the council told the government enacting the bill could be done under Articles 53 and 57 of the 2018 State Fiscal and Financial Discipline Act.

Article 53 stipulates that the government may seek off-budget loans or loans not covered by the law on public debt administration in urgent situations that require action to address critical problems when annual appropriations cannot be promptly fixed.

Article 57 stipulates that borrowing under the provision of Article 53 can be made for a project deemed valuable for society and when the state agency, which owns the project, has a detailed operation plan of the project.

Julapun says digital wallet scheme to start on May 1 Julapun added that the Council of State also advised the government to heed opinions from all stakeholders before enacting the bill.

“The government will take all the steps as advised by the Council of State,” Julapun said.

“Tomorrow [Tuesday], the Finance Ministry will report the opinion of the Council of State to the Cabinet.”

He said the committee in charge of implementing the digital wallet scheme would hold a meeting within a week to determine the timeline of the scheme.

“We’re confident we will go ahead with the scheme. I expect it will kick off on May 1,” Julapun added.

The scheme is a flagship election campaign policy of the ruling Pheu Thai Party. It aims to distribute 10,000 baht to all Thais over the age of 16 on condition that they earn less than 70,000 baht a month and have less than 500,000 baht in bank accounts.