In light of recent developments, Treechada Srithada, the reputable deputy spokeswoman for Pheu Thai Party, put up a front to publicly address the media on August 24th. The pressing issue at hand was the rising prevalence of digital fraudsters who manipulate unsuspecting individuals by luring them with counterfeit “Digital Wallet” links, effectively siphoning funds from their actual account. All of this comes prior to the actual commencement of the much-anticipated 10,000 Baht handout program, scheduled to commence in February.
The Government has been quick to guarantee that the proposed 10,000-baht digital wallet handout will be instituted in full compliance to applicable laws. They even welcomed the scrutiny of the said program by the vigilant eyes of the public and regulatory bodies. This announcement came from the Deputy Finance Minister, Julapun Amornvivat, who reacted to reports from the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) flagging the potential of illicit activities in the scheme.
“We welcome the anti-graft agency’s investigations. It will spur all those associated with this 560-billion-baht program to work with utmost care and precision,” said the deputy minister while actively assuring that he was prepared to elucidate the plan’s details to NACC, if needed.
A meeting with the program’s subcommittee also saw representatives from the Bank of Thailand, the National Economic, and Social Development Council, the Budget Bureau, and the Ministry of Commerce. During this assembly, Mr. Julapun affirmed the government’s commitment towards executing the scheme in adherence to three crucial laws: the Royal Decree on Criteria and Procedures for Good Governance, the State Fiscal and Financial Discipline Act, and the Budgetary Procedures Act. He emphasized that the compliance with these laws would serve as a protective shield, ensuring the scheme’s transparency and worthiness.
The Deputy Minister expressed concern over the country’s economic progression. Over the past decade, the economy has observed a mere 2% annual growth, a rate that is relatively lesser than other regional counterparts. Aiming for a 5% Gross Domestic Product growth, he stressed that this stimulus program was the needed remedy to revive the economy.
Additionally, Mr. Amornvivat pinpointed that the distribution of 10,000 baht in digital currency to every Thai national over 16 must commence by next year for maximum benefits. However, the question of disbursing these funds to the affluent classes remains unanswered, with several economists advocating the allocation of this relief to the most in-need populace.
Meanwhile, Somsak Suwansujarit, the renowned chief ombudsman, confirmed the receipt of a petition demanding an inquiry into the program’s legality under the constitution and related laws. This petition, led by Wirangrong Dabbaransi, leader of an organization named “Network of Universities for Reform”, was signed by a panel of academics. It has been handed over to the Constitutional Court for ruling after gathering adequate information from relevant agencies on this issue.
Mr. Somsak stressed the importance of having all the necessary information on the program as the government has not furnished clear details of its functioning. Once this information is available, it will be forwarded to the government for an explanation. Ultimately, this remains a test of the government’s legal efficiency and transparent execution of their plans.