Govt bid to 'unlock' LAOs' funds

Govt bid to 'unlock' LAOs' funds

Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda
Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda

Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda has agreed to study how to "unlock" funds of local administrative organisations (LAOs) and divert them to stimulate the economy, said government spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat.

The issue was raised during a cabinet meeting on Tuesday which touched on disbursement of investment budgets earmarked for the 2019 fiscal year that would end on Sept 30. The government is pushing hard to accelerate public investment to spur growth.

She said the interior minister has promised to look into regulations governing disbursement of the LAOs' funds to see if and how they can be transferred to the government’s economic stimulus measures.

"The interior minister has promised to look into the matter and report back to the cabinet how the funds can be disbursed. The minister told the cabinet there are regulations involved but he would come up with a proposal as soon as possible," she said.

Asked about the size of the LAOs' funds, she said the amounts were not discussed by the cabinet but noted that based on figures compiled by several committees, the funds are estimated to be about 600 billion baht.

Ms Narumon said the cabinet has also asked state agencies to speed up disbursement of investment funds within this month or they would have to prepare a tied-over budget. 

The Budget Bureau has reported to the cabinet on the budget disbursement as of June 28, with total disbursement of the 2019 budget amounting to 1.84 trillion baht, making up 73.1% of the total budget of 3 trillion baht. Disbursement was 3.9% below target.

The cabinet last week endorsed a fiscal 2020 budget of 3.2 trillion baht, up 6.7% or 200 billion baht from 2019 fiscal year, which ends on Sept 30.

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