The Thai Pakdee Party on Wednesday asked the Ombudsman to request the Administrative Court to suspend the government's digital money handout, which could cost the state over 500 billion baht, because of its likely impact on the financial system.
Filing the petition, Thai Pakdee chairman Warong Dechgitvigrom said the court should thoroughly consider the scheme, which might have an irreversible impact on budgetary, monetary and financial systems.
The 10,000-baht digital handout is a flagship policy of the coalition-core Pheu Thai Party. Opponents expressed concern about the scheme and its possible impact on the nation’s finances.
Dr Warong said parties questioned how the government could afford the handout, and why the handout was not made in fiat currency but in a digital currency that Thai monetary law did not support.
A group of 99 experienced economists and former governors of the Bank of Thailand (BoT) had signed their names in opposition to scheme, which could well damage the country’s monetary and financial systems and cause a long-term budgetary burden, Dr Warong said.
The government must refrain from any populist plan that might result in long-term damage to the national economy and the public, said the leader of the royalist political party.
Among the opponents of the scheme, Pisit Leeahtam, a former deputy finance minister from the Democrat Party, said it would be enough for the government to spend about 100 billion baht to help about 10 million poor people.
The 560-billion-baht digital money handout, for all Thais aged 16 years and over, was too costly and was an improper way to use the national budget, Mr Pisit said.
He also said cryptocurrency use was prone to corruption and could not guarantee transparency.
Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat said the handout could cost up to 548 billion baht because there were 54.8 million Thais aged 16 and over.
However, the government would set criteria for people to be eligible, which would include their income, Mr Julapun said.
The digital money handout was aimed at stimulating the economy, and the government was listening to opinions about the project, he said. The government was still finalising the plan, and expected to implement it early next year.