Cash relief for civil-servant farmers vetoed

Cash relief for civil-servant farmers vetoed

Finance Ministry says agriculture must be main job

Financial aid is offered at a BAAC branch in Samut Prakan. The bank says it has not transferred aid to any civil servants who also farm.
Financial aid is offered at a BAAC branch in Samut Prakan. The bank says it has not transferred aid to any civil servants who also farm.

The Finance Ministry has turned down the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry's proposal to offer 5,000 baht in cash relief to 91,000 civil servants farming for supplementary income, saying they are unqualified because they earn salaries.

Civil servants with employment income are not qualified for handouts, said Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana. He plans to discuss the matter with the agriculture and cooperatives minister later.

On April 28, the cabinet approved a 150-billion-baht fund to help 10 million farmers affected by the economic repercussions of the pandemic. Those who are entitled to the monthly stipend must be farmers primarily, Mr Uttama said.

A royal decree on 1 trillion baht in borrowing is the main funding source for the monthly support given to farming households. Of the total, 550 billion baht is for financial aid for affected informal workers and farmers, 45 billion baht is for healthcare-related expenditure, and the remaining 400 billion baht is for economic and social rehabilitation through projects aimed at creating jobs, strengthening communities and building infrastructure.

The 10 million people are entitled to the 5,000-baht cash handout transferred to their accounts for three months, while the state-owned Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) is responsible for the subsidy transfers.

As of May 22, 3.2 million farmers had already received the cash relief worth a total 16 billion baht. A further 3.8 million will get the allowance by the end of the month.

The BAAC has yet to transfer the aid to any civil servants who also farm, said senior executive vice-president Kasarb Ngernruang.

Mr Kasarb said 527 of the 3.2 million farmers who received the cash giveaway have passed away. An additional 109,000 who are subject to the cash relief to be handed out in the second round are already dead, and the bank will send their names to the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry to discuss whether their heirs are entitled to the assistance.

Eligible farmers can receive the money through the BAAC or other bank accounts. Among the 10 million farming households, 7-8 million have bank accounts.


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