Thailand’s former central bank governors and economic experts are urging the government to abandon its $15 billion cash handout program, known as the “digital wallet” program.
- Former central bank chiefs and economic experts in Thailand are urging the government to scrap its $15 billion cash handout program, citing concerns about inflation and long-term fiscal discipline.
- The “digital wallet” program, which would give most Thais a one-time handout of 10,000 baht, is seen as doing more harm than good by critics and is opposed by current central bank chief Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput.
- Critics argue that the money would be better spent as direct public expenditure and investment, and that the government should narrow down the beneficiaries or limit the handout to those in need.
Thailand’s former central bank governors and economic experts argue that the program, which would give most Thais a one-time payment of 10,000 baht ($270), could lead to inflation and harm long-term fiscal discipline.
Current central bank chief Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput has also expressed concerns about the spending. The program is a key promise of Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s Pheu Thai Party, aimed at stimulating the economy. However, critics argue that the money would be better spent on direct public expenditure and investment. They also suggest narrowing down the beneficiaries and limiting the handout to those in need. Srettha has stated that he is open to differing opinions but believes it is “impossible” to limit recipients to specific groups.
The Thai government has defended the plan, arguing that it is necessary to help people who are struggling financially. The government also argues that the plan will boost consumer spending and help to stimulate the economy.
However, 99 economists and economics professors have opposed the policy, stating that it is not worth the cost. The digital wallet scheme is expected to cost the government up to 560 billion baht.
About the author
Boris Sullivan is a business news editor based in Hong Kong. He has over 15 years of experience in covering the latest trends and developments in the Asian markets, as well as the global economy.