New rice stock under pledging scheme to be auctioned


BANGKOK, Jan 24 – Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom has ordered a new bid for rice under the rice pledging scheme given increasing demand in the local market.

He said the Thai Rice Packers Association and the Thai Rice Mill Association are keen to buy rice from the government’s stock, while farmers have sold nine million tonnes of rice to the government from their current crop under the rice pledging scheme.

Mr Boonsong pledged that the government’s warehouses are capable of stocking the rice even though the Marketing Organisation for Farmers was instructed to find additional storage locations.

An estimated 11-12 million tonnes of rice will be bought by the Commerce Ministry under the pledging scheme in this harvest year, and rice has been gradually distributed to buyers since December, he said.

Korn Chatikavanij, former finance minister and Democrat Party deputy leader, said the government has not adhered to financial discipline, particularly regarding the rice pledging scheme and the water management projects under a Bt350 billion loan.

This Friday marks one year of the loan approval but only Bt4 billion has been earmarked, while the law sets June as the deadline to allocate the entire loan, he said.

Theerachai Puvanartnaranubala, finance minister in the previous Pheu Thai cabinet, said Thailand will encounter the problem of having am unsustainable economy in the long term with the public debt approaching a critical point.

Corruption, an inefficient bureaucratic system, state officials subordinated to politicians and populism are some of the challenging factors working against the country’s development, he said.