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Thailand plans $93 billion in 2023 spending as budget debate starts

Thailand plans $93 billion in 2023 spending as budget debate starts

FILE PHOTO: Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrives before a family photo session with new cabinet ministers at the Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, March 30, 2021. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

BANGKOK : Thailand's government on Tuesday proposed higher spending at 3.185 trillion baht ($93.24 billion) in the 2023 draft budget bill, to accelerate what has otherwise been a slow economic recovery.

The bill, which is being debated in parliament, projects spending 2.74 per cent more than the current year and a 0.7 per cent drop in deficit to 695 billion baht, or about 3.9 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

The budget planners have assumed that Southeast Asia's second-largest economy will grow 3.5 per cent-4.5 per cent this year and 3.2 per cent-4.2 per cent next year, helped by increased domestic demand and a recovery in tourism.

However, the state planning agency recently forecast lower growth of 2.5 per cent-3.5 per cent this year due to global volatility.

"Under such circumstances, the government needs to implement an expansionary fiscal policy to support the economic recovery," Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told the House of Representatives, which plans to debate the first reading until Thursday.

In the 2023 fiscal year, revenues are expected to improve gradually as the economy recovers following an easing of coronavirus restrictions, he added.

The budget is crucial to Prayuth's premiership because failure to clear the bill's first reading could force him to resign or dissolve parliament.

If passed, the bill will require two more readings in August before being sent for senate and royal approval.

($1 = 34.16 baht)

Source: Reuters

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