MFP to put digital wallet plan in crosshairs
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MFP to put digital wallet plan in crosshairs

Parit Wacharasindhu
Parit Wacharasindhu

The main opposition Move Forward Party (MFP) has lined up more than 30 MPs to debate the budget bill for the 2025 fiscal year in its first reading from Wednesday to Friday, with the ruling Pheu Thai Party's digital wallet handout scheme set to take centre stage.

Parit Wacharasindhu, MFP spokesman and party-list MP, said each MP would be assigned to censure the government on a range of issues, including the economy, politics and social problems.

He said the budget allocations under the bill cannot offer the country a better future. Although substantial funds will be allocated for the government's flagship digital wallet handout, spending on other projects will be reduced, he said.

"The budget attempts to divert financial resources reserved for other purposes and commit them to the digital wallet scheme. These issues will be raised during the debate," Mr Parit said.

Pheu Thai spokesman Danuporn Punnakanta said on Sunday the government will defend the digital wallet and the cabinet ministers responsible will explain how it will work to stimulate the economy.

He added that he was confident the bill would pass the first hearing in parliament.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said that on May 28, the cabinet approved a budget bill worth 3.75 trillion baht for the 2025 fiscal year, starting Oct 1 and ending Sept 30 next year.

Some 160 billion baht was earmarked to fund the government's 500-billion-baht digital money handout scheme.

The cabinet also approved a proposal to spend 122 billion baht from the 2024 fiscal budget to finance the scheme, he said.

Of the 122 billion baht, 111 billion baht will come from a budget deficit while the rest will be diverted from the other parts of the 2024 spending, said Chalermphol Pensoot, director of the Budget Bureau.

Previously, the government said it also planned to use funds from the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), worth 172 billion, as one of the three main sources of funding.

However, obtaining a loan from the BAAC to finance the scheme will run into legal hurdles. BAAC law strictly stipulates that the bank can only provide financial assistance to farmers, posing an obstacle.

The budget for the current fiscal year, which began on Oct 1 last year, worth 3.48 trillion baht, was finally passed in April after the lengthy process of forming a new government.

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