Deputy PM Kittiratt: Bt30 billion to construct riverside flood walls

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BANGKOK, Feb 23 – Following the Constitution Court ruling on Wednesday in favour of the legality of two executive financial decrees, one urgent task is to construct riverside flood prevention walls with a budget of at least Bt30 billion, said Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Kittiratt Na Ranong.

Construction of flood prevention walls along the rivers are aimed at replacing sandbag embankment used during the flood crisis last year.

The decrees will allow the government to borrow Bt350 billion in loans and transfer debt from the Financial Institutions Development Fund (FIDF) to the central bank.

It is the duty of the House Speaker to present the motion to Parliament for consideration and the government is ready to clarify that while administrative work on water management will be done in parallel, Mr Kittiratt said.

Another Bt60 billion of budget will be allocated to implement a floodway project with two million rai (800,000 acres) of land to be used as water retention areas, he said. The government has conducted a survey and found the appropriate 1.5-million rai (600,000 acres) plots of land.

The budget has already included compensation money to be paid for residents in those areas.

The deputy prime minister said the government does not have to shoulder the burden of the FIDF of Bt60 billion a year, so the government will have more budget left for developing the country.

In the 2013 fiscal year, the government does not need to allocate the budget of Bt20 billion for water management.

As a result, the government can use Bt80 billion to cut the budget deficit target to Bt300 billion from the projected 2012 deficit budget of Bt400 billion.