The introduction of a digital money distribution policy is under consideration, entailing a significant portion of government expenditure. The policy, as proposed by the Institute, should be used as a tool to stimulate new skill development and wage subsidies.
By modifying this policy to exclusively assist those who are genuinely disadvantaged, we could dramatically reduce the required budget. This adjustment would create a sustainable policy that could provide support over a series of years, rather than only once.
Today, on the 11th of September, the newly inaugurated government will present this policy proposal to the Parliament. It’s part of a wider effort to combat economic challenges through multiple quick-impact strategies. These include awarding 10,000 baht in digital currency to every individual aged 16 and above and a commitment to reducing the price of commodities like oil and electricity. These strategies are currently under intense scrutiny, particularly regarding the fiscal sustainability of the country moving forward.
Somkiat Tangkitvanit, president of TDRI, argues that using digital wallet money distribution as a tool to catalyse economic growth can only be effective once. Its influence can’t spill over into the space of two years. Committing a whopping 560 billion baht to give each individual 10,000 baht could potentially fuel Thailand’s GDP in 2024. However, the economy’s stirred activity would quickly dwindle without adequate resources for further economic intervention due to the substantial monetary outlay.
Attaining an economic growth Of 5% in the coming year shouldn’t be a daunting task if done by distributing money. However, upon considering the long term repercussions, how and where to distribute this handout becomes a matter of significant deliberation. The practicality of technology usage should also be assessed alongside the prospects of its usage only as a novelty. Therefore, any plans to expend 560 billion baht need to align with realistic and measurable outcomes.
By revising the policy to target only the 4.4 million Thais currently living below the poverty line, the budget can be virtually slimmed down. This way, digital wallet money could potentially support these individuals over the next 15-16 years, instead of just a single distribution cycle, as shared by Somkiat.