Panel crafting budget plan for fiscal 2024
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Panel crafting budget plan for fiscal 2024

Wants to know if amounts meet needs

The House committee studying budget planning and monitoring budget spending is taking steps to arrive at a budget proposal for fiscal year 2024 which is tentatively scheduled to be examined by the House in early January.

Natthapong Ruangpanyawut, chair of the committee and a list-MP of the Move Forward Party (MFP), said the panel is gathering input from state agencies on their budget requests, which have been trimmed down to 3.48 trillion from 5.8 trillion baht by the Budget Bureau.

He said the committee is awaiting details of the approved spending proposals, which will be available on Dec 23 before they are forwarded to the cabinet for approval on Dec 26.

"We'll compare notes to determine if the budget allocations respond to the people's needs," he said.

He said the digital wallet scheme is not included in the 2024 expenditure budget bill and the government already announced it will seek loans to finance the handout plan.

Mr Natthapong said the MPs are considering disclosing the details of budget allocation requests and the details of the requests approved by the Budget Bureau to show if the cuts are appropriate before the bill is passed.

Early this week, House Speaker Wan Muhamad Noor Matha said the first reading of the budget bill for fiscal 2024 is scheduled to take place on Jan 3, after he was informed by the Budget Bureau of the budget process.

The 2024 expenditure budget bill, which was supposed to take effect on Oct 1, has been delayed due to the political transition as the new coalition government finds its feet.

When asked about the budget delay, the MFP MP said that while fixed spending can be disbursed, new investments are being affected. He said it will be in the country's best interests if the deliberations can be sped up.

As for the budget proposal for fiscal 2025, he said the MPs are considering proposing a spending plan alongside the government's and his panel will seek information from state agencies so that it can make recommendations to the Budget Bureau.

According to Mr Natthapong, the committee found a number of issues when reviewing state spending. Among them is the Department of Rural Roads' regulations involving the classification of concession firms, he noted. The regulations are seen as opening the way for price collusion, and the committee will invite the department to explain the regulations and consider revising them for transparency, he said.

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