Commerce minister: Rice pledging scheme continues, losses lower than Bt260 billion

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BANGKOK, June 6 – Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom has categorically ruled out the government’s Bt260 billion loss in the rice pledging scheme and promised to give a full explanation to the public tomorrow.

He said he did not understand how the Finance Ministry came up with the figure while closing entries on the plan, kicked off on Oct 7, 2011, were not finalised.

The Commerce Ministry has managed the rice subsidy programme with a Bt410 billion revolving fund plus Bt90 billion fund from the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), he said, adding that Bt120 billion was already returned to the BAAC.

“It is impossible that the accumulated loss could be this high. The Commerce Ministry will urgently explain to all parties concerned to create better understanding on the rice pledging scheme,” he said.

He said the Finance Ministry was in the position to explain to Moody’s Investors Service which warned that Thailand’s rice pledging scheme was a credit negative due to heavy losses.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials came to the Commerce Ministry yesterday to ask questions and seek information on Thailand’s international trade and business direction, he said.