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PM moved vaccine funds from Health Ministry to Central Fund in case of “urgent need”

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Twitter/Sunai

The PM has been re-jigging the government coffers, saying he transferred funding for Covid-19 vaccines from the Health Ministry to the Central Fund – in case of urgent need. Prayut Chan-o-cha was addressing MPs yesterday, the last day of a 3-day debate on the 3.1-trillion-baht national budget for 2022. In particular, the PM was responding to criticism from the coalition’s Bhumjaithai Party, with a number of MPs accusing him of diverting funds from the Health Ministry.

According to a Thai PBS World report, the PM says nobody, including himself, has any idea when the pandemic will end, or how much money will be needed to fight it. He says the situation calls for vaccine funding to be moved to the Central Fund, adding that with vaccine funding coming from both borrowing and the Central Fund, the money is readily available when there is an urgent need. He adds that the spending of Central Fund resources is subject to tight controls.

The cuts to the Health Ministry’s budget were the source of much debate yesterday, with 1 MP from the Bhumjaithai Party, calling on party leader and Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, to withdraw the party from the coalition. Anutin has responded by saying it was all a misunderstanding and that funds have already been set aside for his ministry to continue fighting the pandemic. Meanwhile, the PM says he has no issues with Anutin and that they are in touch regularly given the Covid-19 crisis.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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