Thailand govt releases 1.35 trillion baht from 2024 budget

Between October 1, 2023, and March 8, a whopping 1.35 trillion baht has been released from the 2024 fiscal budget by the Thailand government, according to data from the Comptroller-General’s Department.

Comptroller-General’s Department Director-General Patricia Mongkhonvanit explained that the 2024 Expenditure Budget Act draft is still under review by the House of Representatives.

In such scenarios, the Budget Bureau’s Budgetary Procedure Act allows the government to tap into the previous fiscal budget act to fill funding gaps, without exceeding two-thirds of the total expenditure. This measure aims to ensure uninterrupted operations. However, this is only applicable to projects with signed contracts when it comes to investment expenditure.

The Budget Bureau, based on the fiscal 2023 budget, allocated an expenditure budget of 1.83 trillion baht for the period while the 2024 budget is under scrutiny, as per Patricia. The regular expenditure accounted for 1.68 trillion baht, while the investment expenditure stood at 155 billion baht from this total.

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So far, 75.5% of the total regular expenditure budget, equating to 1.26 trillion baht, has been disbursed, and 52.7% of the total investment budget, amounting to 81.9 billion baht, has been disbursed.

Disbursements will be divided into instalments based on project success, Patricia added. Looking at the investment budget, the Budget Bureau disbursed 52.7% of the allocated funds from October 1, 2023, to March 8, 2024. This is a significant increase compared to 32.6% for the same period in fiscal 2023.

The usage of the previous fiscal year’s expenditure budget has been authorised by the bureau for the period from October 2023 to May 2024, while the fiscal 2024 Budget Act awaits enactment.

The Comptroller-General’s Department previously implemented several measures to speed up the fiscal 2024 budget expenditure, such as decentralising the authority to address appeals at the regional level. This action was taken to resolve issues related to unsuccessful government project bidders’ appeals, which had led to a halt in investment projects until the appeal outcome was decided.

The 2024 expenditure budget draft calls for a total budget of 3.48 trillion baht, indicating another deficit year for the government. To balance the deficit, a borrowing of 693 billion baht has been proposed in the budget plan.

For fiscal 2024, the investment expenditure, aimed at stimulating the economy, is set at 717 billion baht. The department has set a disbursement target of 75% for investment expenditure in fiscal 2024, reported Bangkok Post.

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