Prime Minister says 280 billion baht in loss from the rice scheme is not the final figure

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The 280 billion baht in damage caused by the rice pledging scheme of the Yingluck administration is not the final figure which is bound to increase in the future when reassessment is to be made, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha said on Wednesday.

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He clarified that the 280 billion baht figure was an assessment of the damage made two years ago and there are still leftover rice which were bought under the scheme and yet to be sold. The leftover rice stored in warehouses across the country is bound to sustain more damages the longer period they are kept in stockpiles and are not sold, he said.

As far as damage from the rice pledging scheme is concerned, the prime minister said that the matter was referred to the court which will hold the first hearing of the case on Friday. He assured that the judicial process would be transparent and fair to all parties concerned.

The prime minister asked the media not to focus too much on the damage figure, saying that it will be adjusted up if the leftover rice are not sold.

He said the government had wanted to offload the leftover rice estimated at about nine million tonnes but the price was too low and. Hence, they were not sold. He added that the government could not engage in price intervention because this would impact on rice price.

He insisted that someone had to be held accountable for the massive loss caused by the rice pledging scheme.