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Thailand delays digital money handout, critics call for probe

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Thailand’s planned digital wallet scheme, which intends to payout 10,000 baht (~$274) to citizens over 16 years old, has been delayed, while critics call for a probe from the country’s electoral commission.

As originally reported by the Bangkok Post, Thailand’s deputy finance minister, Julapun Amornvivat, announced that the planned February 2024 launch of a new digital wallet has been delayed to buy more time for the development of the system.

The Thai government hopes to use the wallet to issue 10,000 baht to eligible citizens in a bid to stimulate the local economy.

A statement from Amornvivat highlighted that the government wants more time to ensure the security of the system underpinning the digital grant wallet while reaffirming that its launch will still take place in the first quarter of 2024.

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According to reports from the country, the sub-committee responsible for the program is still deliberating over the source of the funds for the scheme. The Pheu Thai Party’s digital wallet scheme is estimated to cost 548 billion baht ($15 billion).

The government previously projected the initiative to stimulate economic growth by 5% next year, while Amornvivat also suggested that tax revenue from increased economic activity would help fund part of the cost of the program.

Former Thai Senator Rosana Tositrakul is a vocal skeptic of the project and has since requested the election commission probe the legality of the proposed scheme.

With the Thai government considering using its national budget to fund the digital handout, questions over a lack of funding and the potential of raising debt to pay for the initiative have led to Tositrakul questioning the legality of the scheme.

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