23 May 2015
The national budget for the 2016 fiscal year has been set at 2.720 trillion baht, representing an increase of 145 billion baht, or 5.6 percent, over that of 2015.
In his statement on the 2016 national budget at the first reading by the National Legislative Assembly on 21 May 2015, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha explained that out of the national budget, more than 2.706 trillion baht would be set aside for the regular expenditures of various government agencies and state enterprises, while 13.5 billion baht would be allocated as payments for the national reserves.
Like the 2015 national budget, the 2016 national budget has been set on the basis of the Sufficiency Economy approach and the royal advice to "understand, reach out, and develop.” The objective is to attain the goal of stability, prosperity, and sustainability, in accordance with Thailand’s vision 2015-2020.
The budget is also based on the principles set in the 11th National Economic and Social Development Plan, 2012-2016. It will be a deficit budget because there are still many risks in the country’s economic situation. The investment budget accounts for 20 percent of the total budget.
The Government expects that it will be able to earn 2.439 trillion baht in revenue in the 2016 fiscal year. It will also continue to maintain strict fiscal discipline. Public debt now accounts for only 46 percent of GDP.
General Prayut said that the Thai economy in 2016 is predicted to expand by 3.7 to 4.7 percent, as the global economy is likely to improve and Thai exports are expected to increase. Inflation is expected to stand at a low level of between 1.1 and 2.1 percent. A major risk is that oil prices might increase more quickly than expected, and the stronger baht might affect the export sector.
Thailand’s international reserves at the end of March 2015 were 516.3 billion US dollars. This level is considered stable. As of 14 May 2015, the national reserves stood at 180.7 billion baht. Thailand continues to record a current account surplus.
In order to prepare Thailand for the ASEAN Community in late 2015, a budget of about six billion baht has been set aside for 18 ministries and 153 agencies. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Commerce, and the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security will serve as major responsible agencies.
About 6.4 billion baht has been allocated for developing special economic zones, 70 billion baht for water resource management, and 30.5 billion baht for the resolving of problems in the southern border provinces.
The National Legislative Assembly passed the national budget bill in its first reading and formed a 50-member ad hoc committee to scrutinize the bill. The second and third readings are scheduled for 17 August 2015.