House dissolution affects stimulus measures

The dissolution of the House of Representatives will inevitably delay planned measures to stimulate the economy, finance permanent secretary Rangsan Sriworasart said on Wednesday.

  • Published: 11/12/2013 at 04:20 PM
  • Newspaper section: topstories

Projects like this flood wall reinforcement can still go ahead despite the dissolution of the House of Representatives. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpatarasill)

Under the charter, any stimulus measures that relate to the caretaker government’s commitment to a financial policy or tax collections must be submitted to the Election Commission for consideration prior to implementation, Mr Rangsan said.

This is because such measures could give an advantage or disadvantage to political parties campaigning for the coming general election, he said.

However, measures already under the authority of the ministry could be immediately implemented, without any effect from the House dissolution, he said.

The permanent secretary was confident that gross domestic product growth in year  2013 would still reach 3%, as recently projected, even though the anti-government protests had disrupted work at many state agencies.

He said the rallies had at a certain level delayed the disbursement of the 2013 fiscal budget, particularly the government’s investment budget aiming to spur the economy.

Mr Rangsan said the seizure of the Finance MInistry building by protesters did not affect the normal salary payments for civil servants. The ministry had backup information bases on payrolls at agencies in other areas.

He said the government is able to move ahead with its 350 billion baht water resources and flood management projects because these projects had already gone through all monitoring procedures required.

The only thing that is still needed to be done is to hold a public hearing on the projects, he said.

Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Dec 4 ordered government ministries to join forces with the private sector to launch economic and tourism stimulus campaigns to restore Thai and foreign investors' confidence in the country.

The caretaker premier approved the order to counter the negative affects of the political turmoil at meeting of the economic cabinet last Wednesday, before the House dissolution.

Ms Yingluck also asked the Foreign Ministry to work with Thai embassies in countries that have issued travel warnings to citizens as a result of the rallies, particularly those in Europe and Japan, and provide correct information on the protest situation.

The caretaker premier meanwhile ordered the Finance, Tourism and Sports ministries, the Bank of Thailand and the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board to produce a joint plan for major economic stimulus, investment and employment opportunities in 2014.

Ms Yingluck dissolved the House of Representatives on Dec 9, setting the scene for a general election in the face of huge demonstrations against her government.

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