3.48 trillion budget approved by Cabinet for next year

Photo courtesy of The Nation

Prime Minister Srettha, in a post-Cabinet meeting press conference declared that the budget bill, meticulously scrutinised by the Office of Council of State, will be delivered for approval.

Typically, budget bills are sealed and delivered before the fiscal year kicks off in October. However, this year’s extravaganza faced a dramatic delay, thanks to the intricate dance of forming a coalition government post the May 14 general election. The 2024 spending plan flaunts a staggering 9.3% surge compared to its 2023 counterpart, clocking in at 3.185 trillion baht.

Unpacking the colossal budget, 2.535 trillion baht is earmarked for fixed expenditures, which is 72.85%. There’s 118.361 billion baht to caress the treasury reserves, a colossal 715.381 billion baht to power up investments, and 118.32 billion designated for loan paybacks.

The government is eyeing 693 billion baht loan to make up for the budget deficit. The budget documents project a revenue of 2.787 trillion baht, together with a projected GDP of 19.02 trillion, reported The Nation.

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The House of Representatives is set for a first reading on January 3 and 4, prepared for the bill’s return to the House for a second and third reading on April 3 and 4.

The Senate’s time in the spotlight is scheduled for April 9 and 10, with the grand finale—a royal command expected to drop by April 17 if all goes according to the grand plan.

The House committee responsible for scrutinising planning and monitoring budget expenditure is formulating a budget proposal for next year. The proposal is expected to be reviewed by the House in early January. Natthapong Ruangpanyawut, the committee’s chair and a list MP of the Move Forward Party, confirmed that the panel is currently processing budget requests from various state agencies. These requests have been reduced to 3.48 trillion baht from an initial 5.8 trillion baht by the Budget Bureau.

In related news, the Thai government has refuted rumours of cutting funds for the digital wallet initiative from 560 billion baht to 400 billion baht, stating that the project is not just for the underprivileged but aimed at stimulating the economy more broadly. The government is keen on weeding out the wealthy from benefiting from the scheme, which is expected to cost less than the initially projected 560 billion baht as not all beneficiaries will claim their entitlements.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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