B150bn from future budgets may be used

B150bn from future budgets may be used

The government is set to reallocate 150 billion baht from the 2020 and 2021 fiscal budgets if additional funds for economic and social restoration are needed to blunt the fallout from the pandemic, says the Budget Bureau.

The 150 billion baht will be spent if either the existing 400 billion baht earmarked for economic and social rehabilitation is insufficient or the global economy has yet to recover, said bureau director Dechapiwat Na Songkhla.

The cabinet recently approved a royal decree to borrow 1 trillion baht, of which 600 billion baht is for financial aid and health-related plans for those whose jobs and businesses have been upended during the outbreak, with 400 billion baht for economic and social rehabilitation projects aimed at creating jobs, strengthening communities and building infrastructure.

Mr Dechapiwat said 40 billion baht will be allocated from the 2021 annual budget to alleviate impacts from the pandemic, which is scheduled to go before the cabinet on May 26; 60 billion baht from the central budget for the next fiscal year; and the remaining 50 billion baht from reallocating unused 2020 budget.

Under a draft act on reallocation of the 2020 budget, 88 billion baht will be redirected to the central budget for emergency. Of the total, 50 billion baht will be available to be spent for solving economic problems resulting from the virus outbreak and the remainder to tackle drought issues.

The draft is expected to seek cabinet approval by early June.

Mr Dechapiwat said the 400-billion-baht budget for social and economic rehabilitation under the executive degree on 1 trillion baht in borrowing will be used for job creation in communities to jump-start consumption in rural areas to boost the economy.

Under the 2021 annual budget expenditure, large investment projects exceeding 1 billion baht in value total 14.3 billion baht, mostly for roads and water resource development.

The cabinet earlier approved a fiscal 2021 budget of 3.3 trillion baht with a deficit of 523 billion baht.

The state investment budget for the next fiscal year amounts to 674 billion baht, accounting for 20.5% of the total budget, in compliance with the fiscal disciplinary framework. The framework requires the government to allocate at least 20% of the annual budget to investment.

The economy shrank 1.8% from a year earlier in the January-to-March quarter, marking the first contraction since early 2014.

The Bank of Thailand has predicted a 5.3% contraction for the full year.


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