Digital Wallet Plan Promises Economic Boost Amid Thai Economy Challenges, But Funding Concerns Arise

Thai Prime Minister considers funding options for $13.7 billion stimulus package to bolster economy

The Thai economy is facing challenges and requires a boost, announced Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on Wednesday. To address this issue, the government has proposed a handout scheme worth 500 billion baht ($13.7 billion), known as the “digital wallet” plan. Under this scheme, 10,000 baht ($275) will be transferred to 50 million Thais to be spent within six months. However, concerns have arisen about the funding for this scheme, with some experts questioning its fiscal responsibility.

In response to these concerns, the government has decided to delay the distribution of funds until the fourth quarter of the year. Srettha revealed that the finance ministry and Budget Bureau are exploring potential funding sources for the scheme, in addition to considering a borrowing bill. The prime minister emphasized the importance of boosting the economy, which has experienced low growth over the past decade.

The state planning agency has revised its 2024 growth outlook due to unexpected contraction in the final quarter of 2023 and full-year growth at 1.9%, below the 2.5% growth in 2022. The new projection ranges from 2.2% to 3.2%, down from the previous estimate of 2.7% to 3.7%. Despite these challenges, Srettha has labeled the current economic situation as a crisis that requires urgent stimulus measures.

The central bank governor expressed a different viewpoint, acknowledging slower-than-expected growth and structural issues in the economy. Despite these obstacles, Srettha remains committed to finding a way forward and ensuring that Thailand’s economy remains stable and prosperous.

The government plans to discuss further details regarding funding sources for this handout program at its next meeting on April 10th

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