Commerce Min presses on with rice pledging, shrugs off funding lack

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BANGKOK, 8 October 2013 – Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisarn has confirmed that the ministry will continue the rice pledging scheme while requesting the Ministry of Finance to mobilize funds for the program. 

Regarding the Finance Ministry’s report that there was not enough money to finance the rice mortgage scheme, Mr Niwatthamrong asserted that the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Finance must work together to solve this problem. The Commerce Ministry would continue accepting rice from farmers and selling it while the Finance Ministry would seek funding for the scheme.

The minister also dismissed the World Bank’s findings that the rice pledging program had lost as much as 400 billion baht, saying the total loss for two years was no more than 200 billion baht. He added that the government had earned 160 billion baht from selling the pledged rice and there was still more rice in its stock.