State bureaus told to halt requests

State bureaus told to halt requests

Funds left in loans to be used for the public

Bangkok's Chatuchak weekend market is almost deserted with most shops closed and shoppers nowhere to be seen due to the latest Covid-19 outbreak. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)
Bangkok's Chatuchak weekend market is almost deserted with most shops closed and shoppers nowhere to be seen due to the latest Covid-19 outbreak. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

State agencies have been instructed to halt development proposals that were to be funded by the 1-trillion-baht emergency loan decree as the government is reserving the remainder to fight Covid-19 infections.

According to Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri, the cabinet on Tuesday agreed on a proposal by the state planning and the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) requiring all state agencies to halt applications for funding, particularly under the economic and social rehabilitation programmes.

According to the NESDC, the government had endorsed 762.90 billion baht for 283 projects as of May 3 under the 1-trillion-baht loan decree.

The NESDC said with the 237 billion baht that remains, the government needs it to have room to handle the third wave of infections.

Of the remaining 237 billion baht, the cabinet on May 5 approved in principle to allocate 235 billion baht to help mitigate the hardship of people affected by the third wave of infections.

According to Mr Anucha, the NESDC has consulted related agencies including the Finance Ministry and the Budget Bureau and they have agreed that the government should stop the applications for funding from the loan decree.

The government originally planned to allocate 400 billion baht under the 1-trillion-baht emergency loan decree for social and economic rehabilitation efforts but it has recently decided to redirect the 45 billion baht to help alleviate the plight of people affected by the second wave. As a result, the budget designated for the social and economic rehabilitation programme has been curtailed to only 355 billion baht.

Wanchat Suwankitti, deputy secretary-general of the NESDC, said that as of May 3, the cabinet had approved 232 projects worth 138.18 billion baht under the social and economic rehabilitation programme. The disbursement was worth 69.11 billion for 110 projects, accounting for only 49.95% of the total approved budget.

Low disbursement was attributed largely to slow procurement procedures and the impact of the spread of the Covid-19.

According to Mr Wanchat, under the cabinet's approval on March 9 this year, state agencies with disbursement below 10% of the total approved budget by April 30 were required to transfer the undisbursed budget to the government.

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