Govt to explain rice pledging 'in court'

The government is determined to continue with its rice price pledging scheme and will explain it in court if needs be, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said on Tuesday

  • Published: 9/10/2012 at 04:21 PM
  • Newspaper section: news

Ms Yingluck was responding to a report that lecturers at the National Institute of Development Administration (Nida) will tomorrow resubmit a petition to the Constitution Court seeking an order halting the rice scheme as unconstitutional.

The prime minister said the government is raising incomes of farmers and improving their living standards.

“We do everything for the betterment of farmers, and I hope the court would listen to the information on the rice scheme which would be provided by the government,” she said.

Ms Yingluck said the government was also ready to explain the programme to the Senate.

A total of 81 senators, led by senator Paiboon Nititawan of the Group of 40 Senators, who are highly critical of the government, on Monday formally requested the speaker to schedule a general debate in the Senate so the government would be forced to answer questions and justify the rice scheme. The debate would not require a vote.

Senate Speaker Nikom Wairatpanich said he would set a date, probably later this month.

Asked about alleged irregularities and corruption in the scheme, Ms Yingluck said she had directed her deputy Chalerm Yubamrung to prevent any further irregularities.

Legal action had been taken against 25 people involved so far, she added.

On the controversial issue over the release of rice in stockpiles, Ms Yingluck insisted that she had seen purchase orders for Thai rice via government to government deals.

The exact total amount of released rice would be clear at the end of next year, when the programme is set to end, she said.

Ms Yingluck was confident that the losses incurred would not be more than those suffered last year.

Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom said on Wednesday that the ministry had orders for more than seven million tonnes of milled rice from China, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Ivory Coast under government-to-government agreements.

The remaining four million tonnes of rice would be soon sold to other foreign countries as planned, added Mr Boonsong.

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