Navy slashes 33% of budget, two subs on hold

Navy slashes 33% of budget, two subs on hold

Second and third submarines deferred as funds diverted to virus fight

Models of Chinese submarines are displayed at a defence exhibition held in Nonthaburi in November last year. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)
Models of Chinese submarines are displayed at a defence exhibition held in Nonthaburi in November last year. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

The Royal Thai Navy has cut its 2020 budget by 33%, or 4.1 billion baht, of its unspent total so the money can be used to fight the coronavirus outbreak and on rehabilitation.

The spending, which includes payments for the country's second and third submarines from China, will be deferred to fiscal 2021, naval deputy chief of staff Prachachart Sirisawat said on Saturday.

The government earlier asked state agencies to trim their 2020 budgets by at least 10% of their outstanding amounts as of March 31 so the savings could be added to the central or contingency fund used in fighting the Covid-19 situation and drought.

At the navy, a meeting chaired by chief of staff Adm Sittiporn Maskasem agreed to the 33% cut, more than what the government had asked for.

Other projects to be delayed are the construction of a submarine port and the maintenance project for the vessels; the anti-submarine warfare helicopter maintenance and upgrade project; the network-centric warfare system development project; the naval warfare training simulator (NWS) and the secondary weapon system, among others.

In terms of welfare, a project to build lodgings for 64 families will also be put on hold.

The first submarine is scheduled to reach Thailand in 2023.

According to the 2020 budget act, the navy is allocated 20.5 billion baht of the Defence Ministry’s 104.7-billion-baht budget for fiscal 2020 ending in September.

Of the 518.8-billion-baht central budget being used to fight Covid-19, only 96 billion baht is set for contingencies since 51% goes to pensions for all state officials. 


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