Departments launch blockchain project
The Revenue Department and the Comptroller-General's Department are set to launch a pilot project using blockchain technology in the next few weeks, aiming at streamlining work processes.
The innovative technology will also help provide information associated with value-added tax and inspecting VAT refunds to reduce fraud, said Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana.
In the next stage, Mr Uttama will seek to connect data from three tax-collecting agencies -- the Revenue Department, the Customs Department and the Excise Department -- using blockchain technology to increase working and inspection efficiency.
The Customs Department has emerged as the second government agency in Asean to adopt a blockchain-based shipment tracking and information sharing platform to streamline procedures.
Mr Uttama said blockchain technology will be a boon to the Finance Ministry, which handles a lot of data. The innovation will enable information to be shared across departments and with outsiders, he said.
In another development, the payment system of state welfare smartcards will be developed based on Krungthai Bank's Pao Tang app, replacing high-cost electronic data capture (EDC) terminals, to enable small shops to provide services to smartcard holders more cheaply.
Given that the state welfare recipients can make payments through the mobile app, the number of small merchants that accept the smartcards will increase by 50,000 from the current 100,000. The switch will encourage small shops to set up in communities, Mr Uttama said.
The Finance Ministry plans to harness big data to manage the information of the 14.6 million smartcard holders, including their debt, he said, adding that 29,763 recipients of the welfare scheme are indebted based on National Credit Bureau data.
Mr Uttama instructed Prasong Poontaneat, the permanent secretary for finance, to establish a unit tasked with overseeing state welfare issues.