PM outlines 2014 budget in relation to govt strategies

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BANGKOK, May 29 –Thailand’s Bt2.525 trillion Budget Bill for the next fiscal year is aimed at driving the government’s nine strategic elements to boost Thailand’s competitive edge and prepare the country for a new chapter of regional cooperation, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra announced today.

She said in her opening statement in Parliament that the largest portion of the 2014 budget will be spent as expenditure for the public sector, state enterprises and government agencies while Bt13.423 billion involves payments for the national reserves.

Outlining the government’s nine strategies, she said the budget will help prepare Thailand for internal and external changes in light of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, strengthen national stability, build a stabilised and sustainable economic growth, develop the people’s education, moral, quality of life and equality, and manage natural and environmental resources.

Other strategies involve science, technology, research and innovation development, international and economic affairs, effective national management and public administration fees.

Opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva called on the government to put the bill on the Bt2 trillion loans into Parliament as the amount is almost equal to the 2014 budget and it should go through parliamentary scrutiny.

The proposed 2014 budget allows a deficit of up to Bt500 billion, he said, expressing concern that the government may breach the constitution if it fails to put the bill on Bt2 trillion loans for parliamentary debate.

He said he did not see the relationship between the 2014 budget and the government’s strategies, adding that the budget allocations showed the government’s indifference to future challenges and the present economic situation.

There is nothing new in the budget structure and the government is pushing the burden on the Thai public, especially with its plan to increase the diesel tax to Bt1 per litre and a tendency to increase the LPG price to Bt10 per litre, said the former prime minister.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong told legislators that the 2014 budget was properly allocated in accord with the national target and gross domestic product.

He said the government has given emphasis to economic stimulation inorder to pay national debts.

The diesel price will be closely monitored to ensure stability, he said.

Deputy Finance Minister Tanusak Lek-uthai admitted that the diesel price will have to be increased but said it will not exceed Bt30 per litre.