State urged to accelerate fiscal 2022 spending
The government is advised to speed up state expenditure in fiscal 2022 to lift the economy, which is trapped by rising energy prices and the impact of persistent Covid-19 outbreaks.
Danucha Pichayanan, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC), said the Russia-Ukraine crisis is driving up global energy prices, with the world supply chain anticipated to be adversely affected if the situation lasts a long time.
This may eventually lead to rising domestic inflation and limited consumption, he said.
"Government investment is considered a key driver to support economic growth this year," said Mr Danucha.
"The government should try its best to accelerate budget disbursement in fiscal 2022 to meet the spending targets."
The government set a minimum target of 75% disbursement of the total investment budget or 459 billion baht in fiscal 2022, up by 6% from fiscal 2021.
The government's total investment budget was set at 624 billion baht this fiscal year.
Disbursement among state-owned enterprises is targeted at 469 billion baht, accounting for 70% of the total budget, up 8.3% from 2021.
The disbursement of the 1 trillion baht borrowed by the government under the first emergency loan decree to mitigate the impact of the pandemic is estimated at 131 billion baht (13% of the total), while the 500 billion it borrowed under the second emergency loan decree has estimated disbursement of 390 billion (78% of the total) in fiscal 2022.
According to Mr Danucha, the NESDC forecast total investment to register 4% growth this year, improving from 3.4% in 2021.
Private investment is estimated to increase by 3.8% this year, up from 3.2% in 2021, while public investment is expected to grow by 4.6%, up from 3.8% the previous year.
However, government consumption expenditure is projected to decline by 0.2%, compared with 3.2% growth in 2021.
He attributed the lower government consumption to a decrease in state spending on measures to contain the pandemic.
Government consumption was relatively high in 2020 and 2021 because the government shouldered hefty payments for medical treatment during the pandemic, said Mr Danucha.
The government spent a combined 460 billion baht on medical treatment during 2020 and 2021, 270 billion of which was in 2020 and 190 billion in 2021.