By Thai Newsroom Reporters
DEPUTY FINANCE MINISTER JULAPUN Amornvivat said today (Oct.25) “the well-to-do” among all Thai nationals might probably be denied the Pheu Thai campaign-promised 10,000-baht digital wallet so that the government could finally find enough money to fund it.
Julapun who chairs a government subcommittee on implementation of the digital wallet project said alternatives have been proposed in effort to trim its total cost earlier calculated at 560 billion baht by probably denying “the well-to-do” a handsome part of the taxpayer’s money.
Though all Thai nationals aged 16 years and over had been earlier promised the Pheu Thai populist handout, the entire project might probably not cost as much as 560 billion baht because not every Thai would be entitled to it, according to the deputy finance minister.
He said the number of Thai nationals entitled to the 10,000-baht digital wallet each will be curtailed from 56 million to 49 million if those who earn a minimum of 50,000 baht in monthly pay or have a minimum of 500,000 baht in bank deposit are denied.
The number of eligible recipients of the digital wallet will even be cut down to 43 million if those who earn a minimum of 25,000 baht in monthly pay or have a minimum of 100,000 baht in bank deposit are denied, according to the deputy finance minister.
And, he said, an estimated 15 million to 16 million will be granted the digital wallet if only those who may carry state welfare cards and nobody else are entitled to it.
The Pheu Thai populist project pledged to the public nationwide during their electoral campaign earlier this year was originally designed to grant the 10,000 baht in digital wallet to each of an estimated 56 million Thai nationals aged 16 years and over, regardless of their personal financial status.
Meanwhile, the deputy finance minister said the launch of the Pheu Thai-initiated digital wallet project will likely be postponed from February 1 but will not be financed by the Government Savings Bank as largely speculated.
Julapun said the Pheu Thai populist campaign is yet to undergo change to make it more suitable and feasible regarding convenience of eligible recipients in all parts of the country, thus putting off implementation from the earlier-scheduled February 1.
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin had earlier publicly announced that the project will be launched that day.
The deputy finance minister said the digital wallet project will be financed by the government’s annual budget and not by the state-owned bank as critics have alleged.
Top and Front Page: Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat against a background of digital wallet scheme. Both photos: Matichon