Budget faces few hurdles
The 3.2-trillion-baht budget for the 2020 fiscal year is expected to be submitted for royal endorsement this month, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said on Monday.
The bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives on Saturday, will first be forwarded to the Senate which has up to 20 days to consider the bill.
However, the Senate will meet next Monday and is expected to finish its consideration of the bill that day because the Upper House also set up its own committee to study the budget, alongside the House vetting committee, Mr Wissanu said.
He added that the Senate can only endorse or reject the bill and then send it back to the government to submit for royal endorsement within seven days.
On Saturday, the 55-section bill sailed through its third reading with 253 votes in favour, zero objections and 196 abstentions. One MP did not cast a vote.
The vote took place hours after the House resumed its marathon debate which began on Wednesday.
Meahwhile, Wirote Lakkana-adisorn, a list MP of the Future Forward Party (FFP), yesterday criticised spending by state agencies of money outside the scope of the budgeting system.
He was speaking at a seminar on the national budget organised by the FFP in Bangkok.
He said that the Finance Ministry has some 4.5 trillion baht outside the budget, including revolving funds, which is more than the national budget itself.
Mr Wirote questioned the transparency in the spending of such money, adding that it should go towards local development.
Also speaking at the seminar, FFP leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit said that the national budget is needed to address major problems besetting the country.
He said superfluous spending, such as the navy's 36-billion-baht plan to buy three submarines from China, should be stopped.