Parliament passes B3.1tn budget bill at first reading

Parliament passes B3.1tn budget bill at first reading

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha during the budget debate in Parliament on Monday. (Parliament photo)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha during the budget debate in Parliament on Monday. (Parliament photo)

Parliament on Wednesday passed by a narrow margin the first reading of a 3.1 trillion baht budget bill for the 2022 fiscal year starting Oct 1, aimed at reviving an economy hit by coronavirus outbreaks.

The budget is crucial to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's government as it deals with the Southeast Asian country's latest, most severe outbreak yet.

After a three-day debate, the bill passed with 269 votes in favour, 201 against and two abstentions.

"The budget bill will help drive our economy out of this economic crisis caused by the outbreak as well as quickly restore growth," Gen Prayut told the House of Representatives.

The bill has to pass second and third readings expected in August before it goes for senate and royal approval.

The budget forecasts a 5.7% drop in spending to 3.1 trillion baht in the 2022 fiscal year, with a deficit of 700 billion baht, up 15% from the current year.

Budget planners have assumed Southeast Asia's second-largest economy will expand by between 2.5% and 3.5% this year and 4.0% to 5.0% in 2022.

The National Economic and Social Development Council, however, predicts growth of between 1.5% and 2.5% this year due to the latest outbreak.

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