7 Pattaya shops join ‘blue flag’ welfare program

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The Blue Flag program, part of the government’s aid package for lower-income citizens, provides monthly subsidies for cheap consumer products from designated shops.
The Blue Flag program, part of the government’s aid package for lower-income citizens, provides monthly subsidies for cheap consumer products from designated shops.

Seven Pattaya-area retailers have joined the government’s low-income shopper program, installing smartcard readers to allow welfare recipients to spend their monthly subsidies there.

Participating in the so-called ‘blue flag’ program are Naklua’s Thepbuathong on Soi Photisan 4, and Naklua Beauty in the Old Naklua Market, Prapasri in North Pattaya, CJ Express outlets in Huay Yai sub-districts, Yupin in Nong Plalai, and Rapee in Baan Amphur.

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The Blue Flag program is part of the government’s aid package for lower-income citizens. They are issued with smartcards allowing them to get monthly subsidies to buy cheap consumer products from designated shops. The goal was to have 8,000 “Thong Fah Pracha Rat” shops equipped with electronic data capture machines by Oct. 1. However, only a quarter of those so far have received them, according to Thai news reports.

Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong blamed the slow progress on technical glitches and the uniqueness of the project in Thailand.

He also noted some types of products cannot be purchased with government handouts, including alcohol and cigarettes.