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PM: Sansiri not involved in wallet app

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on Tuesday dismissed rumours that an affiliate of property developer giant Sansiri Plc is to develop a new application the government intends to use in the coming implementation of its 10,000-baht digital currency handout scheme.

The cost of developing the new e-wallet app, called Super App, was rumoured to be as high as 12 billion baht, which Mr Srettha denied as untrue.

Neither Sansiri nor XSpring Capital Plc and Sansiri Plc, its affiliates, will be hired to develop the app, and the cost of its development won’t be as much as the rumoured 12 billion baht circulated in the media, said the PM, who is a former Sansiri CEO.

Mr Srettha also pledged transparency, saying the committee handling the implementation of the project will later offer an explanation to clear up any doubts raised by the process.

Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat also dismissed rumours that the government was considering spending up to 12 billion baht on the development of the new app but, when questioned, refused to provide an estimate of his own.

The developer of the new app isn’t a private company hired to do the job, as misunderstood by some, but a commercial bank under the government’s jurisdiction, he said.

However, when asked to specify which state-run bank will actually become the developer of the app, he simply said all the state-controlled banks will discuss among them who will take the job.

A decision is expected tomorrow, he said.

He also welcomed a new move to petition the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to look into the government’s planned implementation of the scheme.

“It is their right to seek an investigation into the scheme, and any scrutiny can only help ensure transparency,” Mr Julapun said.

He said he would offer to the NACC an explanation about the project in person.

Responding to questions about why the government didn’t use the existing Paotang app for its digital money project, Mr Julapun said the new app is needed to improve data security and to make it compatible with the blockchain technology which will be used in the project.

He also denied rumours that shops that partake in the scheme will be charged 3% for converting the digital currency they receive into cash.

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