THE government has presented its expenditure budget for fiscal year 2022 to the House of Representatives. The spending will focus on national development in accordance with the National Strategy, and efforts to revive the country after the Covid-19 crisis, NNT said today (May 31).
Prime Minister and Defence Minister, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, today explained the budgeting principles and reasoning behind the 3.1-trillion-baht budget. The proposed amount is 185 billion baht lower than the budget for the current fiscal year. The government will operate at a deficit, with revenue projections standing at 2.4 trillion baht. It is to seek 700 billion baht in loans for repayment.
The government’s budget allocation complies with the National Strategy, the social and economic development plan, national security policies and plans, and the ad hoc master plan to drive six strategies as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The budget focuses on the country’s post-Covid-19 recovery, with objectives to achieve sustainable development in all respects and improve the people’s quality of life. The government has also set aside a budget for infrastructure development. The government’s budget allocation is based on cost-effectiveness and maximizing benefits.
The Prime Minister said the Thai economy is expected to grow four to five percent next year. Contributing factors include global economic recovery and stronger domestic demand in terms of consumption, and investment by the private sector. The tourism sector will be revitalized, with more international arrivals expected once the situation in the country returns to normal. When Covid-19 vaccines are widely distributed, herd immunity will be achieved.
The Prime Minister then announced the government’s budget deficit and measures to address it.
During a three-day session, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chuan Leekpai, has set aside 47 hours for discussions, three hours of which are for the House speaker. Government MPs together with cabinet ministers and the opposition each receive 22 hours. Today (May 31) is the first day of debate, taking place from 9:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. The meeting will resume at 9 a.m. tomorrow. Legislators are required to wear face masks at all times, even when they are debating. However, a platform with clear barriers has been prepared if they wish to speak without wearing a mask.
Opposition Whip, Suthin Klangsaeng, said each opposition MP has 10 to 15 minutes to speak. The opposition will focus on the overall picture and economic assessment. The opposition will later discuss the details of each ministry, particularly the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Energy, as they will receive a substantial amount of funding.
Prime Minister Prayut addressing the House of Representatives today (May 31). Photo: NNT