Rice payment next week

The caretaker government will next week pay 3,917 farmers owed money under the rice pledging programme since September last year, Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Bunsongphaisan said on Saturday.

Speaking on the Yingluck Government Meets the People weekly programme on state-run NBT television channel, Mr Niwatthamrong said the government has received a formal document from the Election Commission (EC), approving the use of 712 million baht from the Central Fund to pay rice growers in the five provinces of Chachoengsao, Phetchabun, Prachin Buri, Uthai Thani and Ayutthaya for the 2012-2013 crop year.

The Budget Bureau will allocate the budget for the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) to transfer the money to the farmers next week, he said.

Mr Niwatthamrong said the government's request for the EC to approve the use of 20 billion baht from the state's contingency budget to pay off its debts to rice growers for the 2013-2014 crop year will not impose a new financial obligation on the next administration.

The move is not intended to boost the Pheu Thai Party's popularity in the electorate, he added.

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