In a recent development that’s causing tensions to flare between the Bank of Thailand (BOT) and Srettha Thavisin’s nascent administration, BOT personnel are drawing parallels between the proposed 560-billion-baht welfare program and ‘gifting venomous honey’ to the public. They further warn that the proposed dispatch of a digital sum of 10,000 baht to every Thai individual above sixteen years of age might not proceed as smoothly as planned.
The inclusion of digital wallet provision in the top five priority policies to be enforced following the ascendance of a Pheu Thai-led coalition government to power sparked a widespread backlash. The incumbent government is banking on this digital payout to give a shot in the arm to the Thai economy looking to rebound from the throes of slowdown.
The government has affirmed that from February 1 of the upcoming year, an eligible count of 56 million Thai citizens of sixteen years or more shall receive an individual digital wallet filled with 10,000 baht.
Among the critics opposing the scheme is Korn Chatikavanij, a former finance minister, who is skeptical of the lack of comprehensive planning connected to this digital payout. He argues that the scheme seems to put a political agenda over one of progressive development, putting Thailand’s economic prosperity at significant risk.
Mr. Korn suggested that the government ought to channelize these resources toward alleviating public debt issues instead, and catalyze socio-economic reforms to brace for the fast-paced changes brought about by modern technology, demographic ageing, and the shift towards renewable energy sources.
Despite the criticism, Mr. Korn maintains that this current coalition exhibits more stability than it superficially appears, attributing it to the dilution of political discord through intersecting party alliances. He expressed that the citizens would express contentment if the administration can deliver taxpayers’ contributions to public welfare.
He stated, “I am confident the general populace would welcome any government that works in their favour. Each government leaves a legacy. The popular perception of this government will hinge on the decisions of the prime minister,” the one-time finance minister concluded.