Cabinet approves B3.2tn for fiscal 2020 budget

Cabinet approves B3.2tn for fiscal 2020 budget

The budget deficit should not be a concern because it will largely be earmarked for income-generating investment, says government spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat on Tuesday. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)
The budget deficit should not be a concern because it will largely be earmarked for income-generating investment, says government spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat on Tuesday. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

The cabinet on Tuesday endorsed a fiscal 2020 budget of 3.2 trillion baht, up 6.7% or 200 billion baht from fiscal 2019, which ends Sept 30.

Of the 3.2 trillion baht, regular budget will account for 74.7% or 2.39 trillion baht, up 5.3% from 2.2 trillion in fiscal 2019, said spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat.

The government estimates revenue collection at 2.73 trillion baht, up 7.1% from fiscal 2019.

According to Mrs Narumon, fiscal 2020 will run with a budget deficit of 469 billion baht, up 4.3% from fiscal 2019.

The budget deficit will be mostly allocated to investment. The investment budget in fiscal 2020 will be 655 billion baht, accounting for 20.5% of the total.

The government plans to pay principal of 89 billion baht, making up 2.8% of total loans.

The first reading of the draft bill on the fiscal 2020 budget is expected on Oct 17. The budget is expected to be carried out by late January 2020, four months behind schedule.

Mrs Narumon quoted Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha as saying the public should not be much concerned about the budget deficit, since the deficit budget is largely set aside for investment that can generate income.

The government is also maintaining the proportion of public debt to GDP at 42%, still far below the cap of 60% under the fiscal sustainability framework.

The government forecasts economic growth of 3-4% in 2020, with inflation in a range of 0.8-1.8%.

Mrs Narumon said the cabinet issued guidelines for economic management requiring all agencies to reduce public debt, promote public-private partnerships and debt restructuring, and raise funds via the Thailand Future Fund.

State agencies are also required to increase the productivity of human resources and introduce digital technology to offer public services.

Thailand has run a budget deficit since fiscal 1999, except for fiscal 2005 and 2006. The Finance Ministry is eager to curb the deficit to strengthen its fiscal position as a cushion against any economic crisis that could erupt in the future.

The ministry recently estimated that the country would reach a balanced budget by 2026 if the principal and interest payments were excluded, or by 2030 if they were included.


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