MP wants House budget talks aired

MP wants House budget talks aired

The House debates the 2023 budget bill on May 31. (Government photo)
The House debates the 2023 budget bill on May 31. (Government photo)

The House should broadcast live all meetings of sub-committees vetting the 2023 budget bill after it passes its first reading, a Democrat Party MP said on Wednesday.

The move would improve transparency, Rangsima Rodrasamee, Democrat MP for Samut Songkhram said.

On the second day of the three-day debate on the bill, she said the rooms where closed-door meetings of the House sub-committees vetting the bill will be conducted were "dens of money extortion".

She recommended all such meetings be broadcast live so the public could help scrutinise how the bill is deliberated until it is passed or rejected.

She also urged the Budget Bureau to make more effort to follow up on how the budget approved will be spent.

A 15-million-baht farm product market approved for Samut Songkhram five years ago, for instance, is now a deserted area, she said, adding the Office of the Auditor-General and the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) should look into the project.

The budget bill debate heated up on Wednesday as the opposition again accused the government of failing to generate enough income and incurring more debt to fund its projects.

Jiraporn Sindhuprai, a Pheu Thai Party MP for Roi Et, said the bill was a tool created by the government to force taxpayers to cough up even more money, directly and indirectly.

"It's been clearly proven that the Prayut administration can't generate income and lacks vision. And after living on the money kept in reserve until it's time to find more money, it is now considering raising taxes," she said.

If former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was given the chance to stay in power for up to eight years as Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has, Thailand's economy would not have been in such a state, she said.

In response to her remarks, Gen Prayut urged the opposition MP to stick to debating the 2023 budget bill and stop exploiting it as a forum to woo voters for a future general election.

The government has improved the country's development with various projects. It was unfair to mislead the public by repeating the same groundless accusations that nothing was any better, he said.

"We only collect slightly over 10% in [income] taxes while high-income nations collect more than 30%. So how could this be seen as us forcing taxpayers to pay an unfair rate?" he asked.

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