Economists: Rice pledging scheme to be corruption-plagued

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BANGKOK 5 October, 2011 – Most economists believe the 2011/2012 rice mortgage scheme will pave a way for corrupt practices, according to a latest survey by Bangkok University.

The Bangkok poll has found that 82.1 percent of the economists taking part in the survey are certain of corruption during the process. Almost 87 percent of the respondents are sure that rice mill and silo owners will benefit from the program most. Nearly 75 percent predicted that consumers would bear the brunt of the corruption-ridden scheme.

Sixty percent said that prices offered by the rice price guarantee project would be higher than the rice pledging project. Half of the respondents forecasted that prices of rice shaft paid to farmers would be lower than those announced by the government.

Almost 57 percent believe that rice prices in the world market are very likely to be lower than the government’s planned pricing. At the end of the day, rice mill and silo owners, politicians and exporters will gain from the rice pledging project while consumers, farmers and the government will be most affected.

Almost 60 percent of the respondents suggested that the Commerce Ministry turn to the previous government’s rice price guarantee scheme, which bases prices on actual production costs.

To prevent corrupt practices, the economists advised that the government look into factors contributing to failure of the previous pledging schemes and work out measures to plug those loopholes.

The Bangkok Poll, which was conducted during September 26 – October 3, covers 67 economists from 31 leading research institutions of the country.