Parliament passes B3tn budget bill at first reading

Parliament passes B3tn budget bill at first reading

Prime Minister Prayut Cha-o-cha speaks in Parliament during a budget debate on Thursday. (Parliament photo)
Prime Minister Prayut Cha-o-cha speaks in Parliament during a budget debate on Thursday. (Parliament photo)

Parliament on Friday passed the first reading of a 3.185 trillion baht draft budget bill for the 2023 fiscal year starting Oct 1, aimed at supporting an economic recovery.

The budget is crucial to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's government as it attempts to boost Southeast Asia's second-largest economy, hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

After a three-day debate, the bill passed with 278 votes in favour, 194 against, and two abstentions.

"The budget will support the economic recovery and society after a crisis caused by the outbreaks ... and help restore strong and sustained growth," Gen Prayut said after the vote.

The bill has to pass second and third readings in August before being sent for senate and royal approval.

The budget projects spending 2.74% more than the current year and a deficit of 695 billion baht, or about 3.9% of gross domestic product.

The budget planners have assumed that the economy will grow 3.5%-4.5% this year and 3.2%-4.2% next year, helped by domestic demand and tourism.

However, the National Social and Development Council recently predicted lower growth at 2.5%-3.5% this year due to global volatility.

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