Thailand rejects cash aid proposal for civil servants

Uttama Savanayana

Thailand’s Ministry of Finance has junked a proposal to offer cash aid to 91,000 farming civil servants for supplementary income, arguing that they are earning salaries, making them unqualified recipients.

According to Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana, the civil servants are not qualified for cash aids, and that he would discuss the matter shortly to the Agriculture and Cooperatives minister who proposed for the plan.

The cabinet late last month approved a 150-billion-baht fund to help aid farmers affected by the economic fall caused by the coronavirus outbreak, from which will be financed through a royal decree worth 1 trillion baht in borrowing.

Of the total, 550 billion baht was allocated for financial aid for the affected informal workers and farmers, while 45 billion baht was allotted to healthcare-related expenses. The remaining 400 billion baht was to support economic and social rehabilitation through projects aimed at creating jobs, strengthening communities and building infrastructure.

Savanayana said that only those solely engaged in farming are entitled to the monthly cash assistance. In total, 10 million people are entitled to receive 5,000-baht cash assistance to be transferred to their bank accounts in three months, while the government-owned Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) is tasked to support subsidy transfers.

As of yesterday, May 22, 3.2 million farmers already received cash aid worth a total of 16 billion baht. Some 3.8 million more will get assistance by the end of the month.

BAAC senior executive vice-president Kasarb Ngernruang said that the department has yet to transfer the cash assistance to civil services who were also engaged into farming.

Ngernruang said that some 527 of the 3.2 million farmers who have received the cash assistance have passed away while another 109,000 in the second round of relief are already dead.

Ngernruang said that the bank will send their names to the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry to discuss whether their heirs are entitled to the assistance.

Eligible farmers can receive the money through the BAAC or other bank accounts. Among the 10 million farming households, 7-8 million have bank accounts.