The national budget for the 2014 fiscal year aims to drive Thailand’s national strategies and prepare the country for the realization of the ASEAN Community, apart from solving economic and social problems on a continual basis.
In her statement at the parliamentary debate on the 2014 national budget on 29 May 2013, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said that the Government proposed the 2.525-trillion-baht budget bill, with an emphasis on enhancing Thailand’s competitiveness and responding to the needs of people in all areas.
Out of the amount, 2.511 trillion baht will be set aside for the expenditure of various government agencies and state enterprises, while 13.423 billion baht will be allocated as payments for the national reserves. The Prime Minister explained that regular spending accounts for 79.9 percent of the total budget, payments for the national reserves represent 0.5 percent, investment accounts for 17.5 percent, and debt repayment 2.1 percent.
She stated that the Government is expected to earn 2.275 trillion baht in revenue in 2014, accounting for 17.2 percent of GDP. The 2014 national budget will be a deficit budget, as the Government has set a deficit of 250 billion baht. Thailand’s economic growth in 2014 is projected at 4-5 percent, with inflation of 2.7-3.7 percent. As of 20 May 2013, the national reserves stood at 250.9 billion baht. At the end of April 2013, Thailand’s international reserves came to 178.37 billion US dollars.
Since the global economy remains uncertain, the Government would emphasize measures for economic stability in the short term. The measures would help create sustainable and balanced growth in the future.
The Government has set four national strategies to move the country forward. The four strategies include Growth and Competitiveness, Inclusive Growth, Green Growth, and Good Governance. In preparation for the ASEAN Community, which will be in place in 2015, the Government is striving to upgrade the quality of education and develop foreign language and labor skills to cope with changes in and outside the country.
The Prime Minister added that the spending of the Government’s loans for water resources management and infrastructure mega-projects would help expand Thailand’s economy in the long run.
The national budget also takes into account the issuance of an executive decree to allow the Ministry of Finance to secure 350-billion-baht loans for water resources management and future development and a royal decree empowering the Ministry of Finance to secure 2.2-trillion baht loans for investment in infrastructure development.
Meanwhile, Opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said that he was not in favor of the Government’s preparation for the national budget, as it did not reflect clear development directions. He did not see that the budget preparation would be able to cope with changes and the new situation.
Mr. Abhist also expressed his concern about the high amount of the Government’s loans and called on the Prime Minister to ensure that national budget spending would be transparent and bring the maximum benefit to the people.