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Navy delays sub purchases as it slashes budget by a third

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: Matichon

All ministries in the Thai government have been instructed to contribute 10% of their 2020 budgets to the fight against Covid-19. Last week the Royal Thai Army announced it would also delay most of its purchases of new military hardware until the situation improves.

A spokesman says that The Royal Thai Navy has gone further and will cut 33%, or 4.1 billion baht, of its unspent budget so the money can be reallocated “to fight the virus and on rehabilitation”. The spending, which includes payments for the country’s second and third submarines from China, will be deferred to the fiscal year 2021. The first submarine was scheduled to reach Thailand in 2023.

Last month the government asked state agencies to cut their 2020 budgets by at least 10% of their outstanding amounts as of March 31 so the savings could be added to the central or contingency fund used in fighting the virus situation plus Thailand’s worst drought in 40 years.

A meeting of top brass chaired by the navy’s chief of staff agreed to the 33% cut, far more than what the government asked for.

Other projects to be sandbagged are the construction of a submarine port and the maintenance project for the subs; the anti-submarine warfare helicopter maintenance and upgrade project; the network-centric warfare system development project; the naval warfare training simulator and the secondary weapon system, among others. A project to build accommodation for 64 Navy families has also been shelved.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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