Thailand’s Economic Challenges: A Closer Look at the Digital Wallet Initiative

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

The Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin made a statement on Wednesday, stating that the country’s economy was facing challenges and needed a boost from a proposed handout scheme worth 500 billion baht ($13.7 billion). This plan, known as the “digital wallet” initiative, would involve transferring 10,000 baht ($275) to 50 million Thais to be spent within six months. However, concerns about the funding for this scheme have arisen, 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 currently exploring potential funding sources for the scheme in addition to considering a borrowing bill. He emphasized that it is crucial to boost the economy, which has experienced low growth over the past decade.

The state planning agency has also revised its 2024 growth outlook due to unexpected contraction in the final quarter of 2023 and full-year growth at only 1.9%, below the expected growth rate of 2.5% in 2022. The new projection ranges from 2.2% to 3.2%, down from the previous estimate of 2.7% to 3.7%. Despite this challenge, Srettha stated that he plans to discuss funding options for the scheme at their next meeting on April 10th when further details will be finalized.

While there have been challenges in seeking a borrowing bill to finance this handout program, Srettha has labeled it as a crisis that requires urgent stimulus measures. However, central bank governor has expressed a different viewpoint by acknowledging slower-than-expected growth and structural issues in the economy.

Overall, despite concerns about funding and uncertainty surrounding economic growth prospects for next year, Srettha remains committed to finding ways to support Thailand’s struggling economy through innovative initiatives such as this digital wallet plan.

Leave a Reply