September 8, 2023
BANGKOK – More rules relating to the government’s 10,000-baht digital wallet scheme were revealed on Wednesday by Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat.
Julapun, who has been helping Prime Minister and Finance Minister Srettha Thavisin shape the government’s biggest economic stimulus scheme, said that the digital wallet scheme would use a budget of 560 billion baht but will stimulate cash flow by roughly four times, to over 2 trillion baht.
“The scheme could also help boost the expansion of Thailand’s gross domestic product of 2024 to 5%, and is expected to be implemented within the first quarter of next year,” he said.
Under the scheme, all Thais aged over 16 will receive a one-time payment of 10,000 baht in digital money. The money must be spent at local businesses within a 4km radius of the citizen’s registered address within six months.
The 4-km radius restriction could be relaxed to help citizens residing in remote areas with no eligible shops nearby, the deputy minister added.
“All Thais over 16 will receive this money regardless of their economic status,” said Julapun. “This money cannot be exchanged for cash by users, nor transferred to others. Users also cannot use it to buy ‘vice’ goods (such as alcohol, tobacco, or for gambling) or repay their debts.”
He added that those who have no smartphones or internet access will be provided with alternative methods of spending, such as a QR code that can be used by their relatives on their behalf. The code will be generated by state financial institutes with no registration required.
Julapun also said that the digital money is not a new digital currency, but a right to use the baht currency in digital format, in which one digital baht equals one baht.
He added that the money will be distributed via a new application, not the Pao Tang app used by the previous government.
“This app will be executed on a blockchain system that the government will establish and use to strengthen the country’s digital infrastructure,” he said, adding that this ‘super app’ will have superior security and can monitor the spending to prevent misuse.
“The digital wallet scheme, together with the government’s other policies of creating new career opportunities, promoting soft power, reducing energy prices, and tripling farmers’ revenue, will stimulate the Thai economy and enable everyone to stand on their feet,” the deputy finance minister said.