PM reaffirms transparency in 2013 budget bill

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BANGKOK, Aug 15 – Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Wednesday reaffirmed the transparency of her government’s 2013 budget bill and vowed that the government would strictly observe fiscal discipline to prevent any possible future economic crisis.

As the House of Representatives began its budget bill deliberation, the premier took 50 minutes reading from a prepared statement to launch the second reading.

The 2013 budget was prepared transparently and strictly observed fiscal discipline, she said.

The proposed bill allocates Bt2.44 trillion for government spending to develop infrastructure, stimulate the economy and improve the quality of life, creating jobs, generating more income and narrow the gap between Thailand’s rich and poor, she said.

She added that the budget would be used to prepare Thais ready for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.

Meanwhile, the opposition Democrat Party lambasted the budget bill, saying the Bt2.4 trillion was the country’s biggest ever budget. The government estimated revenue of only Bt2.1 trillion so it may be forced to seek loans to compensate for the deficit.

Democrat Party listed MP Samart Ratchapolsit pointed out that the Bt350 billion loan for the flood prevention scheme would not be worthwhile and that the Terms of Reference (ToR) also lacks detail.

The three-day budget bill debate will proceed article by article and is scheduled to end Friday.

On May 23, the House of Representatives voted 274-1 with 177 abstentions to approve the 2013 budget bill in its first reading after three days of deliberation.