Cabinet okays transfer of B88.45bn from ministries

Cabinet okays transfer of B88.45bn from ministries

The cabinet on Tuesday approved a bill to transfer a combined 88.45 billion baht siphoned from the fiscal 2020 budgets of each ministry to be allocated to a central fund to fight the pandemic and rehabilitate the economy.

The available amount to be transferred is far below the previous estimate of 100.4 billion baht.

On April 21, the cabinet 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.

Most of the funds have yet to be disbursed by each ministry and are 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 biggest budget subject to transfer is the Finance Ministry's 36 billion baht, which was originally planned to service the principal of existing debt, followed by 18 billion baht from the Defence Ministry (which earlier planned to spend on armaments such as a submarine), 11 billion baht from the Transport Ministry and 3.47 billion baht from the Interior Ministry.

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

Rachada Dhanadirek, deputy government spokeswoman, said the government has scheduled allocating the central fund to fight the pandemic and widespread drought.

With 88.45 billion baht, the government's central budget in fiscal 2020 will amount to 94 billion baht.

According to Ms Rachada, the draft bill is scheduled to go before the first, second and third readings of parliament on May 28 or May 29 and later for the senators' vetting, with enforcement likely in June this year.

In related news, Ms Rachada said the cabinet yesterday approved the transfer of 40.32 billion baht from fiscal 2021 budgets siphoned from various ministries to be allocated to the central budget to fight the deadly virus in 2021. The fiscal 2021 budgets are scheduled for the first parliamentary reading on June 24-24.

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