Finance Minister promises financially-sound Thailand

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BANGKOK, Nov 30 – Thailand will achieve a balanced budget within three years with the budget deficit reduced from Bt400 billion this year to Bt300 billion next year and Bt225 billion in 2014, Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong announced today. 

The concurrent finance minister said the Bt225 billion budget deficit will represent less than 2 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP), currently at Bt12 trillion.

To strengthen Thailand’s economy, the government will focus on economic expansion, income distribution, and stability in currency exchange, interest rates and commodity prices, he said, indicating that Thailand had previously concentrated only on economic expansion without action on income distribution and price stability.

He said the government aims at achieving the two remaining factors by moving forward to expand exports, public spendings, private investment and domestic consumption.

In the past one and a half decades, he said, Thailand has mainly relied on exports, which has enjoyed a 20 per cent growth, in its economic expansion but the economy expanded by only 4-5 per cent while domestic consumption played a very small role.

Mr Kittiratt added that the government is proposing a bill on infrastructure development for the national transport and communications system in the next seven years with a Bt2 trillion investment, expressing hope that the development will link transport routes nationwide, reduce logistics costs and stimulate a sustainable economy.

Public debt may increase to 50 per cent of GDP but still under the 60 per cent ceiling set by the Finance Ministry, he said.