Cover photo: The Thai government website
PM Srettha Thavisin has announced the latest update to the digital wallet scheme, which is expected to be launched in May 2024. Thai people aged 16 or above with a monthly income below 70,000 Baht or bank deposits of 500,000 Baht or less will be eligible for the scheme.
On 10 November, the Thai government website reported that PM and Finance Minister Srettha held a press conference to discuss the latest update to the digital wallet scheme along with adjusted criteria for eligibility. He added that the modifications are still being processed and have yet to receive approval from the relevant committee.
The PM stressed that the government is carefully considering the best approaches to stimulate and secure the economy by injecting 600 billion baht into the economic system. Some 500 billion of the total will be allocated to the scheme, covering around 50 million people.
Another 100 billion baht will reportedly be invested in modern automotive technology, the digital industry, agriculture, biotechnology, and workforce educational development.
The scheme’s eligibility criteria and terms are as follows:
- Thai nationals who are 16 years old or above, with a monthly income below 70,000 baht or bank deposits not exceeding 500,000 baht;
- a spending period of six months;
- money must be spent with the confines of the recipient’s home district.
Srettha stated that the government will also introduce a so-called e-Refund scheme for Thai nationals, allowing personal income tax deductions of up to 50,000 baht on the purchase of selected goods and services. He added that those not qualified for the digital wallet scheme will still be able to participate in this stimulation program. He also expressed hope that the policy will encourage more businesses to adopt digital tax systems.
The PM further stressed that the measures are not intended as charity for the underprivileged but as an investment in the economy - a partnership between the people and the government to revitalise the country’s economy.
Critics of the scheme contend that its 560 billion baht price tag is too high. Some have argued that it will raise borrowing costs for both the Thai government and the private sector.