Opposition takes aim at budget bill

Opposition takes aim at budget bill

The opposition on Tuesday blasted the budget bill for the fiscal year 2021, attacking it for not serving the country well in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak.

They also said it is full of cronyism and reflects its drafters' lack of vision.

Kittiratt Na-Ranong, a deputy chief strategist of the opposition Pheu Thai Party, said he was dismayed at the bill, adding he believed it could bankrupt the kingdom if passed in its current form.

He is in charge of overseeing the party's economic policies.

Mr Kittiratt said that after reading a copy of the draft bill, he wondered why the Finance Ministry, the Budget Bureau, the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council and the Bank of Thailand had approved it.

The House of Representatives will today begin reading the bill, which will take three days to complete.

"The [current] bill doesn't serve the need for the government to manage the country in a highly efficient way to overcome the massive economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Thailand," chief opposition whip Sutin Klungsang said.

A large portion of the budget is still being allocated to projects that do not fit the "new normal", he said, especially the construction of road projects and the procurement of new aircraft by the Interior Ministry, he said.

The budget allocated to the Defence Ministry can afford to be cut further, he noted.

Worse still, he said, several projects listed appear as if private firms concerned had been involved in the drafting of the bill themselves, he said.

The Pheu Thai Party's chief strategist Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan said the budget bill was drafted as if the massive economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic had not been taken into consideration at all.

She described the outbreak's economic impact as an economic tsunami.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha dismissed criticism that the bill would lead the country to an economic standstill, saying other nations have come up with similar policies to inject capital into the economy.

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