Government warns against abusing smartcard use
The government yesterday (Oct 6) reiterated it’s tough action to deal with state-sponsored shops that seized the welfare smartcards of low-income earners, as well as smartcards holders if they are found to abuse and trade the cards for cash.
The affirmation came from the Commerce Minister, Sonthirat Sonthi-Jirawong, as he travelled to the provinces to inspect shops joining the state welfare scheme, and see how active low-income earners used their smartcards in buying daily necessities from these shops.
He inspected the spending of low-income earners in Nan province to personally check on welfare card usage at Thong Fah (Blue Flag) shops.
He received positive feedback from cardholders with the majority saying that the cards help to significantly lower their living costs.
But at the same time, he found out that some people have complained that instead of the cards they wanted to receive cash instead.
However he told them that this would not be possible as the government’s wanted them to spend on goods necessary to their daily livelihood.
He disclosed that after the government started to distribute smartcards to qualified low-income earners early this month, an average 300,000 cardholders coming to Thong Fah (Blue Flags) shops on a daily basis, with an estimated 100 million baht in total were spent daily across the country.
But he revealed that he has received reports that some shops had taken away some 1,500 cards from their legitimate holders.
He said he has ordered an investigation to find out the truth.
If any shops in the campaign are found to have violated the rules they will be delisted from the scheme.
Also if any card holders are found to trade their cards for cash with the shops, they could also be disqualified to receive state welfare under the scheme.
Currently, he added the ministry has despatched mobile vehicles to deliver EDC (Electronic Data Capture) machines to all Thong Fah shops throughout the country so that they could produce service to smartcard holders.
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