EC rejects rice-pledging loan request

The Election Commission on Tuesday resolved not to consider the caretaker government’s request that it be allowed to seek additional loans worth 130 billion baht to pay farmers owed money under the rice-pledging scheme, saying it has no authority to do so.

The EC’s decision came after caretaker Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong met the five election commissioners to clarify the government's plan to borrow money from financial institutions to pay farmers involved in the scheme. 

Many rice farmers are angry that payments for rice sold to government have been delayed, sparking protests across the country. Some have demanded that government pay up or return rice sold into the initiative.

Ministers are unable to sign off funds to pay farmers, because the current government is running the country in a caretaker capacity and must defer major spending decisions to the EC. 

But EC secretary-general Puchong Nutrawong said the commission has no choice but to turn down the caretaker government's request to borrow money to pay farmers.

He said the law states that a caretaker cabinet is prohibited from approving any work or project, or creating a binding commitment upon the next government, and shall not exploit state resources or personnel for any act which may affect an election.

He added that Section 181 of the constitution is clear that no exceptions can be made to this, so the EC authority has no authority to consider the loan request.

Mr Puchong said whether to proceed with further loans to finance the rice-pledging scheme is the government’s decision, but warned that it must take responsibility for its actions if an agency rules in future that it violated the constitution. 

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 22/01/2014 at 04:47 AM
Well said unfortunately it will go over peoples head because they don't understand what a binding contract is.
Discussion 2 : 22/01/2014 at 03:57 AM
For the record.......If YOU weren't paid by your employer for the amount these farmers have been deluded for........wouldn't you at least raise your voice? it pure and simple proof that rice farmers have no time to protest or getting violent....who on earth would harvest their next promised crop failure if injured or absent? I LOVE farming!!!! (pssst.....just like they do!)
Discussion 3 : 22/01/2014 at 02:05 AM
Leaders are people who do the right thing; managers are people who do things right.
Discussion 4 : 22/01/2014 at 01:29 AM
Dear Red Shirts, you have been used by PTP. Do you get it yet? Have you been paid for your rice and hard work?
Discussion 5 : 22/01/2014 at 12:24 AM
The EC did the right thing by not being used by this corrupt government. Let the government take the money back from the one who took it! What a shameless and greedy, but stupid bunches.
Discussion 6 : 21/01/2014 at 11:53 PM
Exactly. You can be elected democratically, but if you abuse your power and are too corrupt, well......... you see what happens. Democracy is not paying for votes and voters.
Discussion 7 : 21/01/2014 at 10:19 PM
I don't like the rice pledging system personally (I am libertarian - I don't like government involved in very much).... but the duly elected government passed the program, took possession of the rice and is now unable to live up to that promise..... That makes this a commitment of the country of Thailand to those farmers.... It is a national disgrace to hold the farmers hostage by holding their rice and not fulfilling their obligations and are now unable to return the rice. That is theft from people that are least able to bear it. Throw the government and other officials involved in corruption in jail, but do not hold the farmers hostage..
Discussion 8 : 21/01/2014 at 09:53 PM
The Primer is now cornered by her own doing with her puppeteer in Dubai. May I congratulate the EC for standing tall amidst this issue on rice-pledging scheme. Go! Go! Go! Protect the integrity of the election. Protect democracy. Protect the 'rice' of the farmers.
Discussion 9 : 21/01/2014 at 09:50 PM
A sane and sound judgment amidst the madness and mayhem caused by this government in its pursuit of power, wealth and influence for Thaksin - by proxy. from Playbook application.
Discussion 10 : 21/01/2014 at 09:50 PM
It's was Thaksin idea so why does he not pay the farmers he love so much
Discussion 11 : 21/01/2014 at 09:11 PM
This government are doomed, they are unable to govern and situations are out of their control. The commentators here whining about the government being a democratically elected government should also remember that Robert Mugabwe was democratically elected in Zimbabwe and he is one of the worst dictators around.
Discussion 12 : 21/01/2014 at 08:54 PM
YESSS !! The Dubai cronies can now dream about their commissions….Ask the boss in Dubai to pay the rice farmers!

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