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EC allows govt to use Bt20bn from central budget to pay farmers

The Election Commission on Tuesday approved the government's plan to use Bt20 billion from the central fund to pay farmers who joined the rice-pledging scheme, EC member Somchai Srisutthiyakorn announced.

However, the EC requires the government to refund the central budget with the entire Bt20 billion through rice sales by May 31, Somchai posted on this Facebook wall.

The EC allowed the government to use the money in a form of a loan between the Foreign Trade Department and the Finance Ministry, Somchai said.

Somchai said the government promised that the Bt20 billion would be borrowed from the central budget, not just taken from it.

He said the Budget Bureau director also affirmed to the EC that if the caretaker government returned Bt20 billion to the fund by the end of May, the central fund would not be affected.

The director general of the Foreign Trade Department said that the department would be able to sell rice from the government's stockpiles and raise enough money to repay the central budget within the deadline.

The government has been unloading its stockpiles of rice to raise funds to gradually pay its debt of Bt130 billion to farmers who have pledged their rice under the pledging scheme.

The government has failed to borrow money from banks or raise funds by issuing promissory notes to earn cash for farmers' payments.


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