Labour union opposes rice subsidy scheme


BANGKOK, Jan 10 – An attempt to spend Bt55 billon from the a state bank’s liquidity fund to finance the government’s highly-criticised rice pledging scheme was strongly objected to by the bank’s labour union.

In an official statement released yesterday, the labour union of the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) said it opposed a resolution of the BAAC board of directors to spend the amount of money to buy rice from farmers in the 2013/14 harvest.

The labour union also warned the BAAC against using deposits for the same purpose, saying that the bank needs financial reserves for its routine operations and banking business.

It said the BAAC has so far allocated Bt90 billion under the allowed framework at Bt500 billion for the rice pledging scheme and additional spending for the government’s project will negatively impact client confidence.

Since this is a caretaker government, an approval to spend the huge amount of money must be given by the Election Commission, the BAAC labour union said in the statement.

The labour union said the government should delay payment for farmers’ promissory notes, or grant a maximum payment of Bt50,000 to each farmer in emergency cases.

It called on the government to suspend the rice subsidy project and, instead, issue measures to help farmers in boost their agricultural productivity.