Govt budget for next year slashed B14bn
Education, health get bigger slices of pie
The 2021 government budget has been cut by about 14 billion baht. However, more has been allocated to education, public health, interior and justice agencies.
Deputy Finance Minister Santi Promphat, the chairman of an ad-hoc committee reviewing the draft of the 2021 budget appropriation bill, said the committee had reviewed the budgets of 721 government agencies in line with the national economic and social development plan, the government's national reform plan, national security, the government's policy, economic conditions as well as the Covid-19 crisis.
The committee proposed that the government continuously integrate the budgets of all government agencies to help prevent duplication of work while increasing work efficiency.
The committee also proposed an increase in the budgets for water resources management, education, research and innovation and public health.
The committee revised the 2021 government fiscal budget down from 3.3 trillion baht to 3.28 trillion baht. While 31 billion baht was cut from other areas, the budget for the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Interior, the Equitable Education Fund and the Court of Justice was increased by 17.9 billion baht.
Opposition chief whip Sutin Klungsang said three days might not be enough for the opposition to debate the House's 2021 budget bill scheduled to start on Wednesday.
Regarding allegations that parliament was the reason for a possible delay in government budget reimbursement, Mr Sutin said it was not parliament's fault, but the government's. The government had delayed proposing its budget bill, he said.
House Speaker Chuan Leekpai said the parliamentary debate could be extended to tomorrow if two days were not enough. There were a lot of MPs who wanted to take part, he said.
The House speaker also said the delay was not the fault of the Budget Bureau.
After the appropriation act draft was submitted to the House, it had only seven days to deliberate on it from the usual 10 days. That was why the House speaker said he decided to give more time to MPs so that they would have sufficient time to carefully consider the budget bill.