Viraphong: The nation may not see any economic growth

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BANGKOK, 2 April 2014, – Thailand’s economic growth in 2014 may not make any progress and may even slip into negative territory, according to a former deputy prime minister and finance minister Viraphong Ramangkun. 

Mr. Viraphong, Chairman of the Strategic Committee for Reconstruction and Future Development (SCRF), identified political factors as the major cause, saying the dispute has greatly diminished the country’s confidence level, halted the disbursement of budget for investment and crippled the administrative power of the government.

However he said the nation’s tax collection is still going well, indicating that tax revenue remains higher than national expenses, regardless of the fact that the value of gross tax collections in the first half of this year, didn’t meet the target. He expressed his optimism that the figure would return to a normal level once the political unrest is resolved.

Mr. Viraphong declined to make any predictions on the political situation, saying that there were too many elements. He commented however that once the political turmoil subsided, foreign investors’ confidence in the nation would soon be restored.

He expressed his disappointment over the scrapped 2.2 trillion baht loan bill, calling it a lost opportunity, while hoping that the policy would make a comeback some time in the future.