Prolonged protest could affect budget disbursements

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BANGKOK, Nov 26 – A senior finance ministry official and a banker expressed concern that Thailand’s ongoing political demonstrations could affect the country’s budget disbursement as well as public and private investment.

At a forum on the economy and sustainable future growth, Ekniti Nitithanprapas, deputy director of the Fiscal Policy Office (FPO), said if the protests are prolonged for more than two weeks, it will affect the government’s administration, particularly in regard to budget disbursements for the rest of the year.

Late disbursement will not reach the target set at about 28 per cent and thus will cause the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) for 2013 to grow at less than 3 per cent, from previous projection at 3.7 per cent.

The FPO is planning to adjust this year’s growth projection next month, Mr Ekniti said.

Meanwhile, Sutapa Amornvivat, chief economist and executive vice president at Siam Commercial Bank, warned that political risks could slow new investment in Thailand and delay the government’s infrastructure investment projects as well as result in lower-than-predicted budget disbursements.