Senate passes 2023 budget bill
The Senate on Tuesday endorsed the 3.18-trillion-baht budget bill for fiscal 2023 and suggested local authorities be given more power to collect tax revenues as budget allocations to local authorities under the bill are low.
A total of 179 senators backed the bill with three abstentions. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives in its third and final reading on Aug 23.
Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith explained the bill to the Senate on behalf of the cabinet, saying budget allocations are in line with the government's national development strategy and reform plans as well as the constitution and related laws.
The government is ready to listen to feedback from the Senate and improve the way the budget is allocated accordingly, he said.
Senator Chart-udom Titthasiri, chairman of the Senate committee scrutinising the budget bill, noted that allocations to the provinces under the bill have fallen.
He also said local revenue collections are expected to decline by more than 10-20% so the government should give local government organisations, particularly those which have limited revenues and reserve funds, more power to collect tax revenues.
Senator Pattamapong Prathompat, who also sits on the committee, said the implementation of several projects proposed by state agencies are not in line with the national strategy or cabinet resolutions.
He suggested a central agency be set up to oversee and steer the implementation of projects related to these.