The Thai government has decided to delay the launch of its planned digital money program, which aims to boost the nation’s economy, while opposition leaders are demanding an investigation into the scheme.
Reasons Behind the Delay
Initially scheduled for a February 2024 launch, the digital wallet scheme has been postponed to allow more time for system development, as announced by Thailand’s Deputy Finance Minister, Julapun Amornvivat. This decision comes as the government intends to distribute 10,000 baht (approximately $274) to citizens aged 16 and older to stimulate the local economy.
Amornvivat emphasized the government’s priority in ensuring the security and reliability of the digital grant wallet system. He reaffirmed that the program’s launch will still occur within the first quarter of 2024.
Funding Questions Loom
Reports from Thailand indicate that the sub-committee overseeing the program is currently deliberating over the source of funds for the initiative. The Pheu Thai Party’s digital wallet scheme is estimated to cost 548 billion baht (equivalent to $15 billion). Previously, the government projected that this program would contribute to a 5% growth in economic activity next year, with tax revenue expected to partially cover the program’s costs.
Criticism and Call for Legal Scrutiny
Former Thai Senator Rosana Tositrakul has emerged as a vocal skeptic of the project, urging the election commission to investigate the scheme’s legality. The government’s consideration of using the national budget to finance the digital handout has raised questions regarding funding shortages and the potential need to accumulate debt for the initiative.
The postponement of the digital money program in Thailand reflects the challenges and scrutiny it faces, with both critics and officials closely monitoring its development and implementation.