Finger pointed at Finance Ministry to fulfill rice-subsidy scheme

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BANGKOK, Sept 12 – The Finance Ministry is responsible for finding funding, be it through domestic or foreign loans, for the new round of rice pledging scheme which will cost the government Bt270 billion, according to the deputy prime minister/commerce minister.

Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan was referring to an earlier statement by the Finance Ministry that it ran out of budget for rice purchase from farmers, starting October 1.

The programme was approved by the Cabinet and the Finance Ministry was obliged to find money for the scheme, he said.

He said the Commerce Ministry was speeding up selling rice from the state’s stockpiles through auctions and government-to-government trade.

The ministry closed a deal with China last week to sell another 1.2 million tonnes at a satisfactory price, he said. He did not elaborate on the price sold to China.

Deputy Commerce Minister Yanyong Phuangrach said the ministry was preparing for the new round of rice purchases from farmers and the Warehouse Organisation was granted a Bt26 million budget to develop its online system to connect all information relating to the pledging scheme for convenience and to prevent corruption in the buying process.