By Thai Newsroom Reporters
MOST ESAAN PEOPLE would prefer to spend a sum of 10,000 baht under a digital wallet project anywhere throughout the country, according to an opinion poll released today (Oct.11).
Khon Kaen University’s Esaan Centre for Business & Economic Research which recently conducted the poll with 1,097 villagers as eligible recipients for the Pheu Thai-led government’s digital wallet project in all 20 northeastern provinces has found 57.7% of the respondents prefer to use it to buy goods and services anywhere nationwide whilst 32.2% say they would prefer to do so within the boundaries of their respective provinces and 7.4% say they would opt for using it within the geographical limits of their respective districts.
That compared to only 2.7% who agree to the Pheu Thai-led government’s contentious design to have the digital wallet only available for use in a four-kilometre radius of the recipient’s registered home.
The digital wallet project, primarily designed to stimulate domestic consumption on a short-term basis, provides for each and every Thai national aged 16 or over to be entitled to a total of 10,000 baht to buy goods and services in a six-month period.
The Pheu Thai populist campaign has been calculated to cost some 560 billion baht whilst any sources for the funding of the project are yet to be unveiled to the public.
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has ultimately reassured that the digital wallet project will be put to work as planned and promised to the people nationwide though, he said, objection and criticism from academics and others may arise.
Over 100 Chulalongkorn and Thammasat economists and other university academics have jointly voiced their opposition to such a populist campaign, saying it could not practically boost the national economy in the long run and public debt would be unnecessarily increased and passed onto future generations whilst social justice would be fundamentally compromised if the rich enjoy the benefits of the project as much as the poor.
Top: A representative image of Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s 10,000-baht digital wallet scheme. Photo: Thai Rath
Front Page: Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin announcing the digital-wallet project earlier this year. Photo: Naewna