Thailand considers adjusting budget to accommodate $13.7 billion handout scheme

By Thomson Reuters Mar 29, 2024 | 12:56 AM

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s government said on Friday its 2025 fiscal budget could be adjusted to accommodate its signature 500 billion baht ($13.71 billion) handout scheme.

Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat said there was “good news” ahead for the repeatedly delayed programme, but did not elaborate.

The “digital wallet” handout plan, a key campaign promise of the ruling party, entails giving 10,000 baht to 50 million Thais to spend in their communities, but has been delayed over funding issues.

The 2025 fiscal budget is currently planned at 3.6 trillion baht in spending, with a deficit of 713 billion baht.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said on Thursday the source of funding for the handout scheme would be discussed at the next meeting on April 10, during which details of the plan would be finalised.

Julapun also said the government expected to extend a diesel subsidy which will end in April to help ease the public burden.

The government also plans an additional debt suspension measure expected to help about a million farmers, he added.

Thailand is in no rush to sell bonds overseas and any amount will not be big, Julapun said.

($1 = 36.4600 baht)

(Reporting by Orathai Sriring and Kitiphong Thaichareon; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor)