New body to run digital wallet plan

New body to run digital wallet plan

Srettha Thavisin of the Pheu Thai Party announced the party’s 10,000-baht digital wallet policy at a campaign rally in April. On Tuesday, the cabinet resolved to form a committee tasked with directing the implementation of the government's digital money handout scheme, which is expected to begin in February. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Srettha Thavisin of the Pheu Thai Party announced the party’s 10,000-baht digital wallet policy at a campaign rally in April. On Tuesday, the cabinet resolved to form a committee tasked with directing the implementation of the government's digital money handout scheme, which is expected to begin in February. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

The cabinet on Tuesday resolved to form a committee tasked with directing the implementation of the government's digital money handout scheme, also known as the digital wallet project, which is expected to begin in February next year.

Requiring around 560 billion baht in funding, the project will give away 10,000 baht in digital money to every Thai aged 16 years and older for spending in specific areas in order to stimulate the economy over the short term.

Prime Minister and Finance Minister Srettha Thavisin serves as chairman of the new committee, while the deputy chairmen are Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, and Digital Economy and Society Minister Prasert Chantararuangthong.

Mr Srettha has already called the first meeting of the new panel this week, which could be either Thursday or Friday, said Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat, who is among its members.

The core responsibility of the so-called digital wallet committee is to scrutinise and consider approving the implementation plan to be drawn up for the digital wallet scheme, which will include the exact budget required and what sources it will come from, said Mr Julapun.

The committee will also follow up on the progress in implementing the project, problems and setbacks that may arise, and ensure it will be corruption-free, he said, adding the committee reports directly to the cabinet.

As for concerns raised over the likelihood of the project being in breach of the Bank of Thailand's (BoT) laws and regulations, Mr Julapun reiterated that the government had already discussed this matter with the BoT and was assured the project does not contravene these.

Mr Julapun also confirmed that blockchain technology would be used in operating the digital wallet programme, saying it is the most transparent technology available.

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