City Hall to receive B79.7bn budget

City Hall to receive B79.7bn budget

Flooding, traffic to get special attention

Bangkok Council on Thursday unanimously approved a budget of 79.71 billion baht for the coming 2023 fiscal year, starting Oct 1, as City Hall plans to use most of the money to ease the city's most nagging problems including flooding and traffic congestion.

The Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation under the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will receive 466.45 million baht in the new fiscal year, up from 222.31 million baht this year, said an informed source.

A 165.52-million-baht rise will also go to the BMA's Traffic and Transport Department, while the City Law Office will receive a 189.06-million-baht increase in its annual budget, said the same source.

The BMA's Culture, Sports and Tourism Department will receive a 230.74-million-baht rise while the Department of City Planning and Urban Development will get an additional 14.91 million baht, the source added.

All district offices except for Sai Mai will receive an increase in their annual budgets, said the source, adding Sai Mai faces a 5.51-million-baht cut despite boasting the largest population of all districts.

The Public Works Department, Department of Drainage and Sewerage, Department of Environment, Medical Service Department, and Health Department will also face budget cuts of 1.63 billion, 700.27 million, 67.78 million, 326.63 million, and 34.4 million baht, respectively, said the source.

The central budget will be slashed by 208.5 million baht, the person added.

Such cuts are equal to the amount of budget these BMA organisations have failed to disburse within this fiscal year, said Sutthichai Wirakunsunthon, chairman of the Bangkok Council's committee vetting the 2023 fiscal year budget proposal.

However, Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt can still request changes to the cuts in the approved proposal in order to divert the same amount of money to more urgent priorities where appropriate such as flooding, Mr Sutthichai said.

Of the remaining budget, over 700 million baht has been allocated to the Department of Education to finance a project to rent computers for schools under the BMA, he said, adding that the scheme was supposed to begin in fiscal 2021.

The delayed disbursement has cost about 50,000 students a year of the opportunity to use a computer for educational purposes, he said.

Mr Chadchart said he appreciated Bangkok Council's endorsement of the annual budget and promised to manage it with prudence, transparency and maximum work efficiency.

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