Finance Ministry may issue bonds for money to pay farmers

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BANGKOK, Feb 22 – The caretaker government will issue bonds to raise money to pay farmers under the rice pledging scheme, according to caretaker Deputy Prime Minsiter Kittiratt Na-Ranong.

Mr Kittiratt, who is concurrently caretaker finance minister, said the law does not prohibit a caretaker government from issuing bonds which, if implemented, should take 7-8 weeks.

He said he believed small-time investors and the private sector would be interested in buying the government bonds as there are a lot of people who wanted to help farmers.

Mr Kittiratt insisted that the government has never instructed any state enterprises, whether the Airports of Thailand or the Government Pension Fund, to buy government bonds.

The government bonds, if issued, will be attractive to buyers and offer high interest, he said.

He called on opponents of rice subsidies, including two former finance ministers Thanong Bidaya and Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala, to refrain from criticising the government over rice payments to farmers.

If not because of the disruptive protest movement over the last two months, the government would have already paid farmers, he said.

“Some people said it would be impossible to pay farmers.They have never reviewed what they had done during their administrations, including floating the baht. I don’t want to say too much,” he said.

Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra did not appear in public for the third consecutive day yesterday but her close aide said she discussed with Cabinet members on the phone.

She is free from routine obligations on the weekend but she may travel upcountry next week, her aide said. (MCOT online news)