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Agreement reached on 2.6T baht budget for Thailand in 2015

Publication Date : 31-05-2014


Thailand's ruling junta is expected to deliver a 2.6-trillion-baht (US$79 billion) fiscal budget for 2015, in which a 250-billion-baht deficit has been set and 455 billion baht has been allocated for investments.

Funds to be spent on infrastructure projects will be raised via loans.

The agreement was reached yesterday at a meeting of the Finance Ministry, the National Economic and Social Development Board, the Bank of Thailand and the Budget Bureau.

Somsak Chotrattanasiri, director of the Budget Bureau, said the budget was based on an economic growth forecast of 6.3 per cent and an inflation target of 2.3 per cent.

He said the 250-billion-baht deficit would be the same as this year's.

If the budget gets the final approval of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), it should be implemented on October 1 as scheduled.

Somsak said the allocation for investments was set at 17.5 per cent of the total budget, or 455 billion baht.

He said the investment element of the budget would need to be discussed in detail to ensure the spending would be in line with the country's economic road map.

"Under the fiscal 2015 investment budget, there will be some projects related to feasibility studies, including design work and expropriations, that were outlined in the Bt2-trillon loan bill for infrastructure projects," he said.

He added that spending on projects that have undergone feasibility studies would be set at an appropriate amount, while the source of funds for investments in infrastructure projects would be loans.

However, Somsak said the bureau had already allocated the budget for three main portions - minimum regular, primary and obligatory spending, which accounted for 70 per cent of the total. The remaining budget would be spent in line with the government's strategic plan.

"This portion will wait for the NCPO's decision, which will be sought from the Cabinet or the NCPO on July 15," Somsak said.

Because of the absence of a House of Representatives, the bureau has proposed that the NCPO form a committee to screen the budget allocations before it is forwarded to His Majesty for royal approval by September 22 and for announcement on October 1.

Meanwhile, an adjustment in fuel prices - including liquefied petroleum gas, natural gas for vehicles and diesel - was deemed an urgent concern, prompting the Energy Ministry to go ahead with a plan to increase LPG prices by another 0.50 baht per kilogram this Sunday, from 22.63 bahat at present.

This was announced by Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong, the junta's chief of economic affairs, after talks with Energy Ministry officials yesterday.

Energy policies and plans initiated before the NCPO seized control in a coup would be allowed to continue as long as they do not affect the economy, he said.

The NCPO will consider the appointment of the National Energy Policy Committee, the supreme body for the sector, next week, Prajin said.

In regard to the reshuffle of managers and the boards of state enterprises, Prajin said he would hold a meeting today with representatives from all 56 state enterprises.

"From a study, we've found there are 800 board members and 26 related laws. Hence there will have to be careful consideration and any conduct will follow the rules and regulations of the Stock Exchange of Thailand," he said.
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