Nearing completion of the groundbreaking “super app”, Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat has suggested that this all-encompassing mobile application will become operational to coincide with the initial distribution of the 10,000-baht digital wallet scheme in early next year. With the developers working round the clock, there’s eager anticipation about the potentially transformative app being ready for the February-March launch of the financial handout program.
However, it’s worth noting that not all of the app’s functions will be operational on day one. Deployment, according to Deputy Minister Julapun, will be a gradual process, trickling down necessary features to the users as and when required. It’s already clear that some features will be ready for use when the registration process kicks off next month.
The Deputy Minister further explains that vendors who are outside the formal tax system won’t be able to transform their digital wallet balance into hard cash. Nevertheless, this simply means these vendors will get an opportunity to spend their digital wallet funds on purchases from their counterparts who are officially registered within the tax system.
On the financial side of things, Julapun has reassured the public that the 10,000-baht per person payout will require less than the estimated 560 billion baht, thanks to the lower number of beneficiaries. With approximately 54.8 million people aged 16 or above eligible for the handout, the actual cost will be less than projected. This doesn’t even account for those who opt not to take part in the program, thus further diminishing the total cost.
The finer details of this scheme are under the scrutiny of two sub-committees, which were submitted for Prime Minister’s approval. These bodies will help refine the scheme and boost public opinions on this initiative, as reiterated by Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai.
In an interesting development, former commerce minister and current Democrat acting leader Jurin Laksanawisit sparked a debate when he criticised Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s move to rally public support to drown voices against the digital wallet scheme. Jurin’s argument tags along the premise that the taxpayers, whose money is being used for the scheme, have every right to criticize it.
Entering this debate, Jurin noted that it was not public demand that ignited the 10,000-baht handout program. Instead, according to him, it was political maneuvering to gain voters’ favor during the election period – a responsibility the party must bear.