Prayut: Budget bill controversy will affect economy

Prayut: Budget bill controversy will affect economy

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha speaks to reporters at Government House in Bangkok on Thursday. (Photo by Wassana Nanuam)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha speaks to reporters at Government House in Bangkok on Thursday. (Photo by Wassana Nanuam)

The controversy surrounding the 2020 Budget Bill will certainly affect the economy because it involves government investment totalling hundreds of billions of baht, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Thursday.

Gen Prayut said at Government House on Thursday that the government was looking for solutions to the problem.

"The problem centres on investment budgets that amount to hundreds of billions of baht. If the money is not spent the economy will not improve much. So there must be other measures to compensate. Without the money, everyone will be in trouble," the prime minister said.

Gen Prayut said the Constitutional Court would take months to consider the voting controversy. The delay in the passage of the 2020 Budget Bill would cause problems with budget disbursements.

Asked if the government would issue an executive decree to borrow money, Gen Prayut said concerned authorities did not think the solution was suitable at the moment.

There would be alternative solutions to cope with impacts on the economy and investment, he said.

Fears about risks to the economy have grown since 174 MPs on Wednesday requested a Constitutional Court ruling on the validity of the 3.2-trillion baht budget for the 2020 fiscal year.

The fears stem from former Democrat Party MP Nipit Intarasombat's claim that two Bhumjaithai MPs cast votes in favour of the bill without being present in the House during the debate earlier this month. The Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties are both members of the government coalition.

The budget bill debate began on Jan 8. The House voted at the end of its deliberation of each section before voting on the entire bill in the third reading on Jan 11.

The 55-section budget bill sailed through the final reading with 253 votes in favour, zero against and 196 abstentions.


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