Thailand coup: Finance ministry proposes budget of $100b for new fiscal year

Thailand's finance ministry is proposing a state budget of 2.6 trillion baht (S$100 billion) for the fiscal year starting Oct 1 and a smaller deficit than this year's at up to 200 billion baht, a senior ministry official said on Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Thailand's finance ministry is proposing a state budget of 2.6 trillion baht (S$100 billion) for the fiscal year starting Oct 1 and a smaller deficit than this year's at up to 200 billion baht, a senior ministry official said on Tuesday, May 27, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Thailand's finance ministry is proposing a state budget of 2.6 trillion baht (S$100 billion) for the fiscal year starting Oct 1 and a smaller deficit than this year's at up to 200 billion baht, a senior ministry official said on Tuesday.

Spending would be slightly higher than the 2.52 trillion baht of the current fiscal year, which is expected to come in at a deficit of 250 billion baht.

Mr Rangsan Sriworasat, the ministry's permanent secretary and acting finance minister under the military council that took power on May 22, said the planned revenue of 2.4 trillion baht should be attainable as the new government's "economic road map" was intended to quickly boost consumption and investment.

"So the economy is expected to grow as much as 3 per cent this year and higher than that next year, thus increasing tax revenue," he said.

Progress on the budget for the next fiscal year has been delayed by months of anti-government protests, which have also hurt confidence, domestic demand and tourism.

The plan will be proposed to Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong, who is overseeing economic matters for the junta. He said he would announce his economic policies next week, including the state budget, to help support an economy badly hurt by the unrest.

Mr Rangsan said about 400 billion baht of the total spending would be for investment. On top of that was another 400 billion baht that could be carried over from continuing projects, which would help drive the economy this year and next.

Mr Prajin said on Monday that the military council did not want a large-scale spending plan that would commit the next administration, and would push ahead only with important infrastructure projects.

Acting finance minister Rangsan said that of the 2.52 trillion baht in spending planned for the current fiscal year, only about 64 per cent had been disbursed as of May 16. Only 42.5 per cent of the 428 billion baht investment budget had been used.