The 5,000 baht ‘No One Left Behind’ program is fine in its intention, but it’s planning and execution is a demonstration of unadulterated incompetence.
Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana should be removed from a job he’s unfit to do.
The fact speaks for themselves..
Planned for three million people over three months. Expanded to nine million people over three months, but on the same budget for three million people.
Changed the payout period to six months. Changed it back to three months.
Yesterday, General Prayut Chan-o-cha told the nation, the government only has enough money to pay for one month and will have to reallocate budget from elsewhere.
“I sympathize and I’m sorry,” said the General. “I am more anxious than anyone.”
The prime minister may feel anxious. But the people feel disgusted.
The Finance Ministry said it uses an AI (Absolutely Idiotic) program to select applicants. It turned out AI wasn’t used at all.
But it is absolutely idiotic when motorbike taxi drivers are disqualified as farmers. When you work six days a week and take a Sunday course to earn your high school equivalency diploma, you’re disqualified as a student, like Somboon Kongka.
Instead of making the process convenient to those most affected, the people are required to register online and fill out a ridiculous form. Meanwhile, the poorest affected don’t even have internet access.
Instead of identifying those needing assistance the most, the Finance Ministry went for a lucky draw competition:
Be one of the lucky three million people!
Wait, let’s change to nine million!
Win the prize of 5,000 baht!
For the next 3 months!
No wait, let’s make it 6 months!
Hold on, let’s change it back to 3 months!
Wait, what? We only have money for 1 month?
Warning: False information in the registration form could lead to imprisonment.
With love and affection, the Ministry of Finance.
The result is, 27 million people registered for a budget that’s enough for only three million people to begin with.
When yesterday, hundreds of taxi drivers and merchants went to the Finance Ministry to protest their wrongful disqualification, they were greeted by officials and the police.
Where was the Finance Minister?
Wherever he was and however busy he was, he should have dropped everything and came to meet the people.
You’re in charge of the Ministry. You’re in charge of the 5,000 baht program. You are accountable to the people.
You don’t hide. You meet them.
But of course, many readers would say, fire Prayut instead. Ultimately, he’s the one in charge.
We are in agreement. But realistically, Prayut is a near immovable object. At this point, only one man can fire him, and that’s not going to happen.
But Uttama can be removed by Prayut. It won’t be the first time the General removes a Finance Minister. Remember Somkid Jatrusipitak?
The country is in a crisis, stop playing patronage politics at the expense of the people. Put competent and trustworthy individuals in charge.