Election Commission nods to Bt712 million for rice payments

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BANGKOK, Feb 26 – Thailand’s Election Commission (EC) yesterday permitted the government to withdraw Bt712 million from the central fund to pay farmers under the rice pledging scheme.

Election commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn said the money would be paid to farmers for rice in the 2012/2013 crop and, as explained by the Commerce Ministry and Budget Bureau, the amount of money was overdue from the previous fiscal year.

The money will be transferred to the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) to be paid to farmers in five provinces.

Mr Somchai said the EC’s approval would not cover the government’s future request for money from the central fund for similar purposes.

The caretaker Cabinet yesterday agreed to seek the EC’s approval to borrow Bt20 billion from the central fund for overdue payments to farmers.

Mr Somchai said the EC would have to thoroughly study the Bt20-billion request which would be on different terms and conditions, and make sure that it does not pose financial burden to the next government.