Former central bank governors and economic experts in Thailand are advocating for the government to abandon its $15 billion cash handout program, known as the “digital wallet” program. These experts express concerns about inflation and long-term fiscal discipline. The program aims to provide most Thais with a one-time payment of 10,000 baht ($270), but critics argue that it would be more effective to invest the funds directly into public expenditure and limit the handout to those in need.
Current central bank chief Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput shares these concerns about the program’s spending. Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, whose party presents the program as a way to boost the economy, is open to differing opinions but does not believe it is feasible to restrict recipients to specific groups. While the government argues that the program will assist financially struggling individuals and stimulate consumer spending, 99 economists and economics professors oppose it, stating that the cost outweighs the benefits. The digital wallet scheme is estimated to cost the government up to 560 billion baht.
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