Thailand: Parliament passes THB3.1tr budget bill at first reading

  • Parliament on 2 Jun 21 passed by a narrow margin the first reading of a THB3.1tr budget bill for the 2022 fiscal year starting 1 Oct 21, aimed at reviving an economy hit by coronavirus outbreaks.
  • The budget is crucial to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s government as it deals with the Southeast Asian country’s latest, most severe outbreak yet.
  • After a three-day debate, the bill passed with 269 votes in favour, 201 against and two abstentions.
  • “The budget bill will help drive our economy out of this economic crisis caused by the outbreak as well as quickly restore growth,” Gen Prayut told the House of Representatives.
  • The bill has to pass second and third readings expected in Aug 21 before it goes for senate and royal approval.
  • The budget forecasts a 5.7% drop in spending to THB3.1tr in the 2022 fiscal year, with a deficit of THB700bn, up 15% from the 2021 fiscal year.
  • Budget planners have assumed Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy will expand by between 2.5% and 3.5% in 2021 and 4.0% to 5.0% in 2022.
  • The National Economic and Social Development Council, however, predicts growth of between 1.5% and 2.5% in 2021 due to the latest outbreak.

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