Fate of B500bn emergency loan proposal to be decided Wednesday

Fate of B500bn emergency loan proposal to be decided Wednesday

The government, opposition and Senate whips have reached an agreement to finish deliberating an emergency 500-billion-baht loan by Wednesday.

The new loan is intended to take care of workers, particularly those severely impacted by the Covid-19 crisis in the hotel and tourism sectors.

It follows last year's 1-trillion-baht loan to bring relief to the people battered by the pandemic.

If parliament runs out of time for a vote at the end of the debate, it will be taken on Thursday, said parliament president Chuan Leekpai.

Wirach Ratanasate, the chief government whip and a list MP for the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), said the government's coalition parties had agreed to support the new loan.

The PPRP has assigned 12 of its MPs to join 13 members of other coalition parties in debating the executive decree.

The coalition and opposition would each be given nine hours' floor time, he said.

Mr Wirach downplayed the opposition's threat to sink the decree, saying they had also tried unsuccessfully to stop the budget bill last week.

Meanwhile, the House committee reviewing the 3.1-trillion-baht budget for the 2022 fiscal year on Monday spent two hours examining funds allocated to the Finance Ministry.

The budget bill passed its first reading in the Lower House last Wednesday.

Asked about so-called "classified funds" being included in the budget, Mr Wirach disputed a claim by opposition MPs that these were the exclusive right of the Defence Ministry and the Prime Minister's Office.

Other agencies also had access to those funds, he said, including the Revenue Department, Excise Department, Royal Thai Police and Anti-Money Laundering Office.

The budget bill vetting committee would discuss that contentious matter, said Mr Wirach.

However, he insisted that the decision on whether to reveal details of the classified funds was a matter for the government alone, not the committee.

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