Cabinet shifts budgets into central fund

Cabinet shifts budgets into central fund

The cabinet on Tuesday approved siphoning 10% of the fiscal 2020 budgets of each ministry to be allocated to a central fund to fight the pandemic and rehabilitate the economy.

According to Budget Bureau director Dechapiwat Na Songkhla, the government will get a total of 100.395 billion baht, most of which has yet to be disbursed and is not tied-over budget.

The plan is part of the third round of government measures to stem the impact of the outbreak. These measures will focus on people living in rural areas and on stabilising the financial and capital markets.

The central fund will be managed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, empowered by the emergency decree.

According to Mr Dechapiwat, the bureau will later propose the cabinet approve a bill to transfer the fiscal 2020 budgets on May 12 which are scheduled to go for the parliamentary vetting on May 28.

The highest budget which is subject to the transfer belongs to Finance Ministry's 36 billion baht, which was originally planned to service principals of existing debts, followed by 18 billion baht of the Defence Ministry (which earlier planned to spend on armaments such as a submarines), 11 billion baht of the Transport Ministry, and 6 billion baht of the Interior Ministry.

The agency reported to the cabinet yesterday that the central 2020 budget has only two billion baht left now after the government had allocated 92 billion baht to fight the outbreak.

Mr Dechapiwat said the government will also revise the fiscal 2021 budget in order to allocate funding to cope with the pandemic. The central budget in fiscal 2021 budget is set at 99 billion baht.

In a separate development, the cabinet yesterday approved a rice insurance scheme for the 2020-21 season worth 2.91 billion baht, aiming to cover 45.7 million rai of farmland.

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