Commerce Minister denies M.R. Pridiyadorn’s rice mortgage loss claim

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BANGKOK, 17 October 2013- Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan has asked officials concerned to urgently supply him with the closing account of the rice pledging scheme, showing strong confidence that the loss would not be as high as 420 billion baht as claimed by M.R. Pridiyadorn Devakula, a former central bank governor.

The Deputy Prime Minister revealed that he had instructed the subcommittee responsible for settling the scheme’s account to urgently wind up the job as he believed the project would not have caused such a heavy damage as claimed by M.R. Pridiyadorn, who was also a former deputy prime minister and finance minister.

Mr. Niwatthamrong brushed off the claim, saying it was just a misunderstanding.

According to statistics, the government spent 330 billion baht on the 2012 rice mortgage scheme and 340 billion baht in the 2013 scheme. The Government aims to reduce the figure to 270 billion baht for the 2014 harvesting season. Officials claimed that the fund is leak proof as pledging payment transaction is done via direct transfers from the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives to the farmers’ accounts.