Bangkok Post – PM vows action on debt, drugs and drought

MAHA SARAKHAM: The government is stepping up efforts to address the country’s informal debt, drought and narcotics problems, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said in Maha Sarakham’s Phayakkhaphum Phisai district on Sunday.

The prime minister, wearing a red shirt, went on stage and delivered a speech to Pheu Thai supporters at an event organised by the party’s coordination centre in the northeastern province.

He assured them that the government’s digital wallet handout scheme will be rolled out in the fourth quarter of this year as promised.

He said that informal debt remains a major problem besetting low-income earners.

“The government has already held a meeting [to seek solutions],” he said. “Anyone who has a debt problem has been urged to seek help from local officials under the government’s debt settlement programme,” he said.

According to the Interior Ministry, 153,400 people signed up to the government’s debt settlement programme between Dec 1 to Feb 29, with debts totalling almost 12 billion baht.

As of March 29, the Department of Provincial Administration said 41,686 had entered the debt renegotiation process, while 25,408 had already settled their debts with creditors.

He went on to say that debt problems have led to other problems, such as drug abuse.

“The government has realised the severity of the drug problem. We have seized drug-related assets and tightened checks at the border to prevent smuggling,” he said.

There are many drug addicts in local villages, which the PM said have to be treated differently to smugglers and should be taken in for rehabilitation.

“I’ve instructed security agencies, the Public Health Ministry and the Justice Ministry to tackle the problem and help reintegrate them into society,” he said.

Drought is another pressing concern as it has affected local farmers and the agricultural sector, Mr Srettha said, adding that he ordered the Interior Ministry and the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry to ensure sufficient water supplies for farmers affected by drought.

“These three problems — informal debt, drought and drug — are national priorities. Rest assured that the government will expedite efforts to help all people,” the prime minister said.

SOURCE: Bangkokpost.com : Thailand   (go to source)
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