Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday hinted at the possibility of an increase in the rice-pledging price, as the government is facing pressure from farmers.
The National Rice Policy Committee last week agreed to revise down the pledging price from Bt15,000 to Bt12,000 per tonne for the output in the 2012/2013 harvest year, apparently to stem the huge losses.
In her weekly broadcasting programme, Yingluck said that it is the government's responsibility to strike a balance between farmers' benefits and fiscal disciplines. She said that the programme needs to be aligned with global condition to some extent. The lower price is in line with the falling prices in rice from neighbouring countries, she said. Yet, there is a possibility that the price would be adjusted higher in line with global prices. Meanwhile, she insisted that her government has upheld financial disciplines.
The revision of the pledging price followed a leaked report that the government may have lost upto Bt260 billion from the scheme in the 2012/2013 harvest year. The government later claimed that the figure was inaccurate. The exact figure will however be revealed after a pending investigation.
The Commerce Ministry will kick off warehouse inspection on June 29. The task, to monitor rice quality at mills participating the government's scheme, would be assisted by provincial police. The public is invited to call 1569, should they find any irregular shipments of rice before the day.
The Pheu Thai government will convene on Monday and one of the discussion topics is the rice-pledging scheme.