Since the launching of the rice-pawning scheme a few months ago ("pawning" is not only a correct translation of the Thai word jam nam but also reflects the sense of the scheme better than the "pledging" that many writers have used), two areas have been analysed most thoroughly: its potential impact on the budget and national debt, resulting from the large losses that will occur, and the corruption that is due to happen at various steps of the scheme. Some analysts go so far as to say that losses from this scheme will bankrupt the country and pawning rice is tantamount to pawning the country.
Losses have not been realised so far as the millions of tonnes of pawned rice now sitting in various silos and warehouses across the country have yet to be sold. The potential losses remain huge, however, as prices of rice in the world markets remain substantially lower than the price paid by the government at 15,000 baht per tonne of paddy. Some members of the cabinet themselves have openly admitted that corruption is likely to take place and investigations are already ongoing, partly as a result of the details emerging from last week's parliamentary debate.
Other aspects of this scheme have received less attention from analysts; three in particular have been neglected.
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