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Sirikanya Tansakul Advocates for Small Businesses in Thailand’s 10,000-Baht Digital Wallet Scheme

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In the vibrant heart of Thailand, where the colorful streets buzz with the oft-told stories of small businesses, a new beacon of support has emerged, wrapped neatly in the digital fabric of innovation. Amidst this kaleidoscope of economic activity, a picture has surfaced, one that captures the essence of empowerment in the digital age—a woman, her hands gently cradling a piece of paper, a testament to the government’s ambitious 10,000-baht digital wallet scheme.

It was on a sun-drenched Saturday that the Move Forward Party (MFP) took the stage, not just to discuss, but to critique and refine. The seminar, led with fervor by the illustrious Sirikanya Tansakul, deputy leader of MFP, became less about presentation and more about a mission—a mission to ensure that the small, those beacons of the local economy, are not overlooked by the towering presence of larger entities.

The scheme, unveiled with much anticipation on the tenth of April, was designed as a digital lifeline to those 16 and above, living modestly with an income cap of 70,000 baht a month and a humble nest egg of less than 500,000 baht. Its premise? Simple. To let this community breathe life into small businesses through the purchase of food and consumer goods, with just a digital flick. Yet, herein lies the crux, as posed by the astute Ms. Sirikanya—what indeed makes a business ‘small’?

The government’s broad brush painted an unclear picture, excluding the giants—supermarkets, department stores, and the likes—but leaving a loophole big enough for large convenience store chains to slip through. This ambiguity, Ms. Sirikanya argued, casts a long shadow on the real small players—the corner grocery shops, the passionate vendors. These are faces of the market that now grapple with confounding requirements of tax registration and a nod from the Finance Ministry, even before being considered part of the scheme.

The plot thickens when money changes hands, or rather, it doesn’t. The small vendor handing over goods against digital currency won’t hear the gratifying chime of cash. Instead, this digital currency must weave its way through the economy, passing through VAT-charging establishments, before it can be of real benefit—a journey that inadvertently favors the already dominant market players.

In the spirit of championing the underdog, a call for change resounded through the seminar. The criteria, Ms. Sirikanya insisted, must evolve to open doors wider for the smaller establishments, ensuring the digital boon does not merely circle within the echelons of large corporations. With the government’s clock ticking down to a three-month countdown for registration, the window for revision is not just an opportunity; it’s a necessity.

Yet, as discussions weave through possibilities, uncertainties loom over the technological steed of this scheme—the “Tang Rat” app. Its readiness, questioned by the insightful Natthaphong Ruengpanyawut, another MFP MP, hangs in the balance, with hopes pinned on the fourth quarter.

In a parallel discourse, Sanan Angubolkul, the esteemed chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, lent his voice to the choir of anticipation, underlining the scheme’s potential economic upliftment. His suggestion? To leverage the existing “Pao Tang” application—a familiar tool in the hands of the masses—as a vessel for this ambitious journey.

As the curtain falls on this vibrant discussion, the narrative is clear—the 10,000-baht digital wallet scheme is more than a policy; it’s a beacon of hope, a digital embrace for the small businesses that color the streets of Thailand. Yet, as with all tales of ambition and innovation, the devil lies in the details, waiting for a careful hand to redraw the lines, ensuring every stroke benefits those who paint the country’s economic picture with their everyday toils.


  1. Chai P. April 21, 2024

    Why shouldn’t large companies partake in the scheme? They employ a lot of people and contribute significantly to the economy. Aren’t their employees also deserving of support?

    • Sirikanya T April 21, 2024

      The focus is on supporting small businesses specifically because they don’t have the vast resources larger corporations do. It’s about helping those who need it the most to level the playing field, not about who deserves support.

      • BeeLove April 21, 2024

        But how do we make sure that the support actually reaches the small businesses and not just stays in digital form? It sounds good on paper but implementing it seems like a nightmare.

    • TechieTom April 21, 2024

      The digital nature of this scheme should actually make it easier to track where the money goes, ensuring it benefits the intended recipients. It’s about smart distribution, not just distribution.

  2. Sunflower99 April 21, 2024

    I love the initiative but am worried about the digital divide. How will older shop owners or those not tech-savvy manage?

    • DigitalDivideSolver April 21, 2024

      Training and support systems should be put in place to help everyone get on board. Digital literacy is a broader issue that needs addressing, but it’s not insurmountable.

      • Sunflower99 April 21, 2024

        True, but that requires time and effort. I hope the government is ready to invest in these resources.

  3. BangkokNative April 21, 2024

    This sounds like a great plan on paper, but I’m skeptical about the government’s ability to execute it properly. There’s so much potential for corruption and misuse.

    • OptimistPrime April 21, 2024

      It’s easy to be cynical, but we have to start somewhere. Corruption can be tackled with transparency and strict auditing. Let’s give it a chance.

  4. LocalVendor April 21, 2024

    As a small stall owner, this policy sounds like a lifeline. Finally, there’s attention being given to us rather than the big market players.

    • BigBizFan April 21, 2024

      Why are we always demonizing big businesses? They started small once and worked up. Shouldn’t success be rewarded?

      • LocalVendor April 21, 2024

        It’s not about punishing success. It’s about providing opportunities for everyone, not just the ones who already made it. We need this boost.

  5. MarketWatcher April 21, 2024

    If done right, this scheme could provide much-needed stimulus to the economy. It’s important to ensure the funds actually circulate within local communities, fostering growth.

    • EconNerd April 22, 2024

      Exactly! The multiplier effect of keeping money in local economies is well-documented. This could encourage a more equitable economic environment.

  6. ConcernedCitizen April 22, 2024

    What about fraud? Digital schemes are notorious for being exploited. How will this be any different?

    • Skeptic101 April 22, 2024

      You raise a valid point. Digital transactions do pose a risk, but with modern technology, there are ways to mitigate these issues. It’s about implementing strong safeguards and continuous monitoring.

    • FaithInTech April 22, 2024

      Besides, every system has its flaws. We can’t let the fear of misuse stop us from trying innovative solutions to real-world problems.

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