Draft budget bill gets govt nod

Draft budget bill gets govt nod

The cabinet yesterday approved a draft budget bill for the 2023 fiscal year worth 3.1 trillion baht and gave the green light for the formation of a 64-member parliamentary committee to vet it.

According to a Government House source, the draft budget bill is scheduled to go to parliament for its first reading May 31 to June 2. The bill will require two more readings around August before being sent for Senate and royal approval.

Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said the draft budget expenditure bill is split into six principal expenses.

There would be 590 billion baht for expenses arising from the central fund and 1.09 trillion baht for state agencies. There will be 218 billion baht for integration costs incurred by state agencies and 772 billion baht for manpower expenses. The last two were 206 billion baht for revolving funds and 306 billion baht for paying off state sector debts.

In addition, the cabinet also approved the appointment of an extraordinary committee tasked with the deliberation of the budget bill. The committee comprises 64 members -- 27 from the coalition parties, 21 from the opposition bloc as well as 16 state officials selected by the cabinet.

Among those selected by the cabinet are Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, Deputy Finance Minister Santi Promphat and Budget Bureau director Chalermphol Pensoot.

House Speaker Chuan Leekpai said the draft bill today will be sent to the House of Representatives for a detailed study before proceeding to the next step which is a debate on the legislation.

Mr Chuan said he would also need to consult with Senate Speaker Pornpet Wichitcholachai and deputy House speakers on how to organise the parliament meeting to deliberate the bill.

The parliament speaker said the bill needed plenty of time to debate. At the same time, the lawmakers must also set aside their time for debating two crucial organic bills to amend the Political Parties Act and the Election of MPs Act which are required to pass to accommodate the new election system.

The source said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said all eyes were on the work of the 64-member committee whose job is to decide on specific allocations of the national budget which may be subject to abuse.

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