(CTN News) – In a significant development, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin of Thailand has announced that his government is in the process of developing criteria to determine eligibility for a 10,000-baht digital money handout program.
This initiative, backed by blockchain technology, is aimed at stimulating local spending within a four-kilometer radius of the recipients’ registered addresses.
1. Introduction to Thailand’s Digital Money Handout
The digital money handout program is a key election policy of the ruling Pheu Thai Party and is designed to boost the Thai economy. It is intended to be a one-time payment, not in instalments.
2. Prime Minister Addresses Eligibility Criteria Concerns
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who also serves as the finance minister, emphasized the need for a proper definition of who should qualify for the handout. The government is actively considering recommendations from various sectors to ensure fairness in the distribution. The statement comes amid concerns that affluent individuals might be exempted from the scheme.
3. Bank of Thailand Governor’s Recommendation
The Prime Minister acknowledged the suggestion from Bank of Thailand Governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput that wealthy individuals should not be eligible for the handout. This recommendation has led to a more detailed evaluation of eligibility criteria.
4. The Purpose of the Digital Money Handout
The primary objective of this digital money handout is to stimulate economic growth in Thailand. The country has been experiencing an average annual GDP growth rate of 1.8% over the past decade, and household debt has reached 91% of GDP.
5. Challenges in the Thai Economy
The economic challenges faced by Thailand, including slow GDP growth and high household debt, have prompted the government to implement this significant economic stimulus.
6. Revised Budget and Expected Recipients
Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat revealed that the scheme would require less than the initially estimated 560 billion baht. This is because the number of eligible recipients, Thai citizens aged over 16, is approximately 54.8 million, not the initially estimated 56 million. Some individuals have also declared their intention not to participate in the program.
7. Oversight by Government Bodies
The Senate Committee on Political Development and Public Participation convened with the Auditor-General, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), and the Election Commission (EC) to discuss the planned digital handout scheme. They expressed concerns about potential policy-oriented corruption and economic risks and are closely monitoring the scheme to ensure its integrity.
8. Conclusion: A Prudent Approach to Economic Stimulus
The Thai government’s decision to refine the eligibility criteria for the digital money handout program reflects a prudent approach to economic stimulus.
By carefully considering the concerns raised by various sectors, including the Bank of Thailand, and by actively monitoring the program, the government aims to ensure that the handout effectively stimulates the economy while maintaining fairness and transparency.
Once implemented, this initiative is expected to significantly impact local spending and the overall economic well-being of the Thai population.