Cabinet approves budget for 2024

Cabinet approves budget for 2024

The cabinet yesterday approved a budget of 3.35 trillion baht (US$100 billion) for the 2024 fiscal year.

The new budget is 5.18% bigger, or 165 billion baht higher, than the 2023 fiscal year, government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said. For the 2023 fiscal year, the government set the expenditure at 3.18 trillion baht, with a budget deficit of 695 billion baht.

Four state economic agencies -- the Finance Ministry, the Budget Bureau, the Bank of Thailand (BoT), and the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) -- last Wednesday endorsed the framework of the fiscal 2024 budget, with state expenditure set at 3.35 trillion baht and a budget deficit of 593 billion baht.

The budget deficit is roughly equal to 3% of Thailand's forecast gross domestic product (GDP), down by 102 billion baht.

Revenue collection is estimated at 2.75 trillion baht, up by 10.7%.

The government expects an average inflation rate of 1% to 2% in fiscal 2024, while the ratio of public debt-to-GDP is expected to stand at 61.35%.

The 3.35 trillion baht budget comprises 2.508 trillion baht worth of fixed expenditure, up 4.43% from the last fiscal year. The amount makes up 74% of the overall budget.

The budget also includes funds for replenishing the national coffers to the value of 33.7 billion baht, which accounts for 1.01% of the entire budget.

Also, 690 billion baht will be diverted for investment purposes, which represents an increase of 0.08% from last year. It amounts to 20.6% of the national budget.

In addition, 117.25 billion baht is earmarked for repaying the principal of government loans, up 17.25% from last year's budget.

Mr Anucha said the budget provides vital support for enhancing the country's competitiveness and the necessary finances for ongoing and new investments in economic and social infrastructures.

The government is ensuring that the budget supports the country's education system and the development of the labour sector, he added. At the same time, the state welfare schemes require financing, which caters to specific groups.

Mr Anucha said the government attaches priority to keeping the budget deficit manageable, at no more than 3% of the GDP starting from the current fiscal year onward. The goal is to work toward achieving a balanced budget when it is possible to do so.

State agencies will need to present their budget requests to the Budget Bureau by Jan 27, he said.

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