Govt's B3.75tn budget passes first House test
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Govt's B3.75tn budget passes first House test

The 3.75-trillion-baht budget bill for the 2025 fiscal year sailed through its first reading in the House of Representatives on Friday night with 311 votes of support, 175 against and two abstentions.

A 72-member special House committee was set up to scrutinise the bill, with 18 members representing the cabinet and 54 representing government and opposition parties. It will hold its first meeting tomorrow and has 30 days to complete its work.

Speaking on behalf of the cabinet, Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai thanked the MPs for their input during the three-day debate and urged the special House committee to consider their recommendations as it goes about its work.

He said the government would ensure the limited budget was spent efficiently and in the best interest of the public, noting that the spending plan for the 2025 fiscal year was aimed at supporting economic growth.

Before the vote, Move Forward Party (MFP) chief adviser Pita Limjaroenrat made a five-point proposal to the government, which included a comprehensive plan for revenue collection and debt management, tax reform and a transparent budget-making process.

He noted that the chairman of the special House committee vetting the budget bill is always a government representative and suggested the public should be encouraged to observe the work to ensure accountability and transparency.

On May 28, the cabinet approved a budget worth 3.75 trillion baht for the 2025 fiscal year, which will start on Oct 1 and end on Sept 30 next year.

Tax revenue of 2.88 trillion baht and a loan to offset a budget deficit of about 865 billion baht earmarked for the 2025 fiscal year will fund the spending.

Some 152.7 billion baht of the budget is earmarked to fund the government's 500-billion-baht digital wallet handout.

According to the government, although the deficit is higher this year, 908 billion baht is set aside for investment, representing a 27.9% increase from the 2024 fiscal year.

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