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Finance Minister Pichai Chunhavajira Optimistic About Early Passage of 2025 Budget Bill

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The government is eagerly counting the days until the 2025 fiscal year’s budget bill clears its second and third readings in parliament, which Finance Minister Pichai Chunhavajira optimistically predicts will happen a full month ahead of its September deadline.

Following his selection as chairman after the inaugural meeting of a House committee dedicated to dissecting the budget bill, Mr. Pichai revealed that sub-committees will meticulously examine each portion of the bill. However, he stayed mum regarding the opposition’s threats to have the Administrative Court nix the government’s hotly debated digital wallet handout scheme if the budget bill passes its third reading.

The grand plan? The government intends to allocate a sum of 152.7 billion baht from the 2025 budget’s central fund to fuel its flashy digital wallet scheme, one of the three primary sources of funding.

In its first dramatic reading in the House of Representatives last Friday, the ambitious 3.75-trillion-baht budget bill sailed ahead, garnering support from 311 votes, sprouting opposition from 175, with two abstentions in the mix.

A special 72-member House committee has been set to work to vet the bill’s details. This committee boasts 18 members from the cabinet while the remaining 54 are split representing both government and opposition parties. But hold the phone—no representatives from the opposition Move Forward Party are on this pivotal committee.

According to Anusorn Iamsa-ard, committee spokesman and a Pheu Thai list MP, the committee is on a tight schedule, working from Monday to Friday, with a hard deadline set for September 23 to scrub the bill.

Taking a step back in time, on May 28, the cabinet gave a firm nod to the 3.75-trillion-baht budget that’s set to run its course from October 1 this year until September 30 the next.

How’s it all funded, you ask? The coffers shall be filled with a tax revenue of 2.88 trillion baht, plus a loan accounting for a budget deficit of around 865 billion baht.

A slice of the pie—152.7 billion baht to be precise—is earmarked for the much-debated 500-billion-baht digital wallet handout. Additionally, the cabinet greenlit a scheme to pump 122 billion baht from the existing fiscal budget into the same initiative.

The plot thickens when considering the initial government plan to tap into the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), aiming for 172 billion baht to give the digital wallet scheme a hefty push. But, alas, legal stumbling blocks loom large. The BAAC law strictly stipulates that its generous financial assistance should be reserved exclusively for farmers, keeping a wary eye on not stretching its funds for economic stimulus. Legal gymnastics, anyone?


  1. Larry Davis June 24, 2024

    This budget bill seems like a carefully crafted plan. But how sustainable is a 3.75-trillion-baht budget, really?

    • Joe June 24, 2024

      Sustainable? Hardly! The digital wallet scheme is just a fancy way to waste taxpayer money.

      • grower134 June 24, 2024

        Digital wallets can be efficient if managed well. Don’t be so quick to dismiss new technology.

    • Larry Davis June 25, 2024

      It’s more about balance. We need innovation but can’t overlook the potential financial risks.

  2. Anna June 24, 2024

    This digital wallet handout scheme concerns me. Aren’t there better ways to utilize such a huge fund?

    • Rick M. June 24, 2024

      It’s about stimulating the economy. Direct cash handouts have proven effective elsewhere.

      • Anna June 25, 2024

        Sure, but we need a robust framework to ensure the funds are used wisely. What about accountability?

      • learnedopinion June 25, 2024

        True, accountability is key. Without it, we’re just throwing money into a black hole.

  3. grower134 June 24, 2024

    No opposition from the Move Forward Party on the committee? That’s a red flag. Balanced representation matters.

    • DragonSlayer78 June 25, 2024

      It’s politics! They’d just delay everything. Sometimes you need to move forward without the naysayers.

  4. Sharon W. June 24, 2024

    The idea of borrowing to cover a budget deficit already makes me nervous. Adding a digital wallet scheme seems reckless.

  5. geekyguru99 June 24, 2024

    152.7 billion baht for a digital wallet, when it could go towards health or education? Priorities, people!

    • Lucas P. June 25, 2024

      Exactly! Imagine the long-term benefits if that money were invested in education.

  6. simplerjoe June 25, 2024

    Tax revenue of 2.88 trillion baht sounds like a lot. Are citizens overburdened with taxes to fill government coffers?

    • Rita June 25, 2024

      It’s complicated. Higher taxes can stifle growth, but without taxes, how do we fund essential services?

  7. Alice K. June 25, 2024

    Why no talk about the opposition’s threat to nix the budget if the digital wallet goes through? What’s the plan then?

    • Marcus1 June 25, 2024

      Good question! They can’t just ignore the opposition forever.

    • Alice K. June 25, 2024

      Indeed. It feels like they’re setting up for a bigger showdown later.

  8. Timothy June 25, 2024

    I’ve always felt digital wallet schemes are more front than substance. It’s a flashy gimmick.

  9. Eve M. June 25, 2024

    Amazing how people can debate allocation of funds all day but ignore pressing environmental issues.

    • GreenRoots June 25, 2024

      Absolutely! The budget should reflect our commitment to sustainable practices.

    • Lucas P. June 25, 2024

      We need to prioritize, and the environment definitely should be a higher priority.

  10. Paul June 25, 2024

    So, part of this budget is funded by a tax revenue of 2.88 trillion baht. What’s the tax breakdown?

    • insider June 25, 2024

      That’s typically a mix of corporate, income, and value-added taxes. A detailed breakdown would be enlightening.

  11. Sandra June 25, 2024

    I feel like the 500-billion-baht digital wallet handout seems excessive. Shouldn’t we be more prudent with spending?

  12. Cambree June 25, 2024

    Excited to see how this digital wallet plays out, but skeptical it’ll be anything more than a political stunt.

    • Timothy June 25, 2024

      Same here. It’s easy to be skeptical when we’ve seen money wasted on similar projects before.

  13. Sarah J. June 25, 2024

    Am I the only one who thinks we should be focusing on paying down the debt rather than adding more?

    • Anthony G. June 25, 2024

      Debt can be instrumental in growth if managed well. But, yes, balance is key.

    • Sarah J. June 25, 2024

      Agreed. It’s all about finding that sweet spot where borrowing leads to sustainable growth.

  14. Bob T. June 25, 2024

    Digital wallet scheme funded in part by the Bank for Agriculture? That’s questionable. Stick to agricultural projects!

  15. Eloise June 25, 2024

    Funding digital wallets directly from the budget deficit sounds like trouble down the road.

    • Peter77 June 25, 2024

      That’s the gamble they’re taking. High risk, potentially high reward, but also high failure potential.

  16. Kyle June 25, 2024

    152.7 billion baht from the central fund for digital wallets might just lead to more inflation, don’t you think?

  17. Damon June 25, 2024

    Interesting how they sideline the Move Forward Party. Looks like power play more than policy-focused governance.

    • Anne T. June 25, 2024

      Politics can be dirty. But excluding a party entirely from such an important committee is a blatant power move.

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