Dems urge panel to scrutinise govt Covid-19 relief spending

Dems urge panel to scrutinise govt Covid-19 relief spending

The coalition Democrat Party is submitting an urgent motion calling for a special House committee to monitor the government's spend-up to revitalise the economy battered by the Covid-19 pandemic, says Democrat MP Trang Sathit Wongnongtoey.

He said yesterday he and five fellow Democrats have signed in support of the motion to be forwarded to the House. It calls for a panel to follow up on the spending under one of three executive decrees presented to alleviate the adverse impacts of Covid-19 outbreak.

The decrees are being debated in the House of Representatives with the debate expected to wrap up today.

One of the decrees governs 1 trillion baht in borrowing.

Of this, 550 billion baht is for financial aid for affected informal workers and farmers, 45 billion baht for healthcare-related expenditure, and the rest for economic and social rehabilitation through projects aimed at creating jobs, strengthening communities and building infrastructure.

Mr Sathit said he and fellow Democrats were concerned the decree contained few details. Specifically, the projects to be financed by the 400-billion-baht portion could be liable to collusion by builders and corruption without scrutiny from the House.

He denied the issue will play into the hands of the opposition which urges more accountability over the Covid-19 borrowing. "This is not about what side we're on. MPs must act on people's behalf and the people want transparency," Mr Sathit.

However, critics saw the motion as a Democrat attempt to politically exploit the issue by being seen as taking the lead in the scrutiny of pandemic-related spending.

Mr Sathit said many MPs from the coalition, including the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), seconded the proposed motion.

Meanwhile, Suchart Chomklin, head MP of the PPRP, disagreed with the committee, saying anti-graft outlets such as the State Audit Office and the National Anti-Corruption Commission are available for fund scrutiny.


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