The Thai government’s plan to stimulate the economy through a digital wallet is being closely examined.

Has the Thai Government's Proposal to Deposit Funds in Citizens' Digital Wallets Been Approved by the Legal Advisor? It Varies Depending on Who You Ask.

Source: AdobeStock / kikujungboy

In the midst of confusion, conflicting opinions, and a touch of legal drama, Thailand’s plan to distribute 500 billion baht ($14.3 billion) to its citizens via a digital wallet scheme is facing uncertainty. Let’s dive into the details and see what’s really going on.

The Council of State’s Contradictory Stance

According to a report by The Nation, the Council of State, Thailand’s legal adviser, has expressed its opposition to the proposed legislation. Their argument is that enacting a bill to borrow such a substantial amount of money for an urgent economic situation contradicts itself. They suggested that if the situation truly is urgent, the government should use an executive decree, a quicker and more efficient method, like previous administrations had done.

The report, however, will not be made public, as stated by the Council. But don’t worry, the government might still reveal their opinion if they choose to.

The Green Light or a Yellow Caution?

Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat, on the other hand, contradicted the previous reports and claimed that the legal adviser has given the green light for Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s controversial stimulus program. Julapun argued that the government has the authority to enact the bill for the cash stimulus scheme.

Adding another twist to the tale, Julapun was quoted by The Nation saying that the plan is set to begin in May, after the Finance Ministry reports the Council’s opinion to the Cabinet on Tuesday. A meeting will be held within a week to determine the timeline. He expressed confidence in the scheme, stating, “We’re confident we will go ahead with the scheme. I expect it will kick off on May 1.”

It’s important to note that the Council of State’s opinions are not binding, but the government often follows their advice. So, it remains to be seen whether the green light truly means a full go-ahead for the digital wallet scheme.

No Indication of Greenlight for Digital Wallet Scheme

However, in another report released recently, Pakorn Nilprapunt, the Council of State’s secretary-general, dismissed claims that the government’s advisory board had given the go-ahead to the legislation. Nilprapunt clarified that the Council’s response to the Finance Ministry was confidential, and only the latter could disclose the details. He confidently stated, “However, it definitely does not contain any indication of a ‘greenlight’.”

The Council’s reply was primarily based on a legal technicality. They provided legal considerations, not opinions on economic matters. Specifically, they focused on Article 53 of the 2018 State Fiscal and Financial Discipline Act, which highlights the conditions under which off-budget loans can be sought by the government. The Council’s response suggests that it is the responsibility of the relevant agencies to determine whether the proposed borrowing aligns with the specified conditions in Article 53.

When asked whether an executive decree or a bill is a safer option, Pakorn argued that both are viable as long as the government adheres to the Financial Discipline Act.

Breaking the Law or Valuable for Society?

Critics have consistently argued that the proposed plan would violate Article 53, which only allows the government to seek off-budget loans in urgent situations. However, Julapun claimed that the Council has indicated that the bill can be enacted under Articles 53 and 57, with the latter stating that borrowing under Article 53’s provision can be made for a project valuable for society.

As the debate continues and uncertainty looms, members of the Senate are gathering signatures to demand answers from the government. Their questions revolve around whether the digital wallet scheme would break the law and whether an economic crisis truly exists to warrant the 500 billion baht borrowing required to fund the digital wallet plan.

🤔 Q&A: What Further Questions Do You Have About Thailand’s Digital Wallet Scheme?

  1. Q: How does the digital wallet scheme work, and how will citizens receive their money? A: The details of the digital wallet scheme and the specific process for distributing money to citizens have not been fully disclosed. It remains to be seen how the government plans to implement this ambitious project.

  2. Q: What are the potential advantages and disadvantages of a digital wallet scheme for citizens? A: Some potential advantages of a digital wallet scheme are increased convenience, faster access to funds, and potential cost savings compared to traditional banking methods. However, concerns may arise regarding privacy, security, and accessibility for those without smartphones or internet access.

  3. Q: How will the government ensure the secure storage and protection of citizens’ funds in the digital wallets? A: The government would need to implement robust security measures to protect citizens’ funds in the digital wallet system. This may include encryption, multi-factor authentication, and regular security audits.

  4. Q: Are there any similar digital wallet schemes implemented in other countries that Thailand can learn from? A: Yes, several countries have implemented digital wallet schemes or similar initiatives. For example, China has its widely-used mobile payment platforms, such as Alipay and WeChat Pay. Looking at these experiences may provide valuable insights for Thailand’s implementation.

🚀 Future Outlook and Investment Recommendations

The outcome of Thailand’s digital wallet scheme will greatly impact the country’s financial landscape and the adoption of blockchain technology. If successfully implemented, it could revolutionize financial transactions and empower citizens with greater financial inclusion. However, the legal hurdles and conflicting opinions highlight the challenges involved in such a massive undertaking.

Investors and industry observers should closely monitor the developments surrounding the digital wallet scheme. The success or failure of the project could have significant implications for the adoption and regulation of digital assets in Thailand. As always, it’s important to conduct thorough research and consider professional advice before making any investment decisions.

References:


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