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Goverment kind of discloses what the secret budget is spent on

Jack Arthur

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(Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP)

The Thai government has shed some light on its “secret budget allocations” to parry criticisms that it should increase transparency about money being used on defence.

The Prime Minister Operations Centre shared details on its Facebook page. They say the secret allocations taken out of the 3.1 trillion baht budget deal amounted to only .03% of the total (930 million baht). This, for the whole 2020 fiscal year.

Further, from 2004 to 2006, they say the secret allocations made up only.05% of the entire budget each year.

They went on to “define” what a secret budget/allocation meant in the bigger picture of government spending. They non-specifically outlined such allocations as belonging to a variety of securities such as national security, economic security, political security. And Social security. And Technological security.

They kept the secret in secret allocations by explaining the allocations are spent on bankrolling “secret operations” that could involve defence. Or narcotics suppression. Or intelligence. Or other “types” of confidential work that are necessary to protect public interests.

A source from the national security agency says a “huge amount” of the money in secret allocations goes toward security affairs in Thailand’s deep south.

However, he also says how the money is spent is up to the subordinates in charge of the operations.

A legal expert, Preecha Suwanthat, says there are a plethora of limitations that hamstring closer scrutiny of such secret spending.

The main obstacle to closer scrutiny of this spending is that… the budgets can be spent surreptitiously with the cabinet allowed to approve additional funds that are also not able to be scrutinized.

Yutthapong Charasathien, an opposition Pheu Thai Party MP, who also vets the budget bill said the party will be taking a closer look at the government’s secret allocations.

What is known:

  • 500 million baht is available for secret spending for the Defence Ministry (no information on what the money will be spent on)
  • 558 million baht has been proposed for the PM’s office
  • 290 million baht for the army
  • 62 million baht for the navy
  • 30 million for the air force
  • 32 million baht for the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Defence
  • 55 million baht for the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters

Mr Yutthapong adds that Foreign Ministry and Labour Ministry also have comparable budgets to spend.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Jack is from the USA, has a B.A. in English, and writes on a variety of topics. He lives in Thailand.

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