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Bureau sure of 2015 budget schedule

THE BUDGET BUREAU has expressed confidence that the government budget for the 2015 fiscal year can run from October 1 as scheduled, with a preliminary budget of Bt2.6 trillion and a deficit of no more than Bt200 billion, while the investment budget depends on the economic strategy of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

Director Somsak Chotrattanasiri yesterday said the bureau had proposed the 2015 budget calendar for the NCPO's consideration and, if approved, budgeting would go ahead instantly. Under the proposed calendar, the Finance Ministry, the National Economic and Social Development Board, the Bank of Thailand and the bureau would convene about the budget and its structure during May 30-June 9

After that, the strategy on budget appropriation would be finalised and forwarded to the NCPO for approval. State agencies would then propose to the bureau their annual expenditure budgets for allocation by June 27.

Previously, minimum current expenditures, basic expenditures and committed expenditures have been appropriated. These three items account for 70 per cent of the overall budget, while the remainder are expenses for the government's strategies, which would be forwarded to the ad hoc government or the NCPO on July 15. The draft 2015 Budget Bill is expected to be sought from the NCPO on July 29 before entering the legal consideration process - to be undertaken by a proposed committee - from August 7 to September 15, said Somsak.

The 2015 fiscal budget could, therefore, be in place for October 1, as scheduled, he added.

"The NCPO's expenditure-budget consideration will differ from that of a government's in a normal situation. There will be no policy declaration. The NCPO's head will act as the legislative assembly," said the Budget Bureau chief. Somsak said the fiscal 2015 budget was likely to be set at Bt2.55 trllion-Bt2.6 trillion, with a smaller deficit of Bt200 billion, in order to have a balanced budget in 2017. Revenue collection is expected to come in at Bt2.35 trillion.

"Setting the budget is subject to fiscal 2014 revenue collection. This fiscal year, we expect a revenue loss of Bt100 billion. If we have higher revenue, we will be able to set a central budget. However, if we set a higher deficit at the beginning, there will be more indebtedness. Such an issue is also up to the NCPO," he explained.

Presently, fiscal 2014 budget disbursement accounts for 61.34 per of the Bt2.52-trillion budget in total.

Disbursement of the current expenditure budget amounts to 66.83 per cent, while the investment budget is 38.36 per cent spent. Both are slightly below target. Somsak said the 2015 investment budget would depend mainly on the NCPO's policy.

Principally, the investment budget would be reviewed with investment readiness for rapid disbursement and economic stimulus, he said.

Such investment projects include double-track rail, and key strategic investment would be considered in regard to the upcoming Asean Economic Community, the narrowing of educational gaps, improving agricultural production, and a flood-protection system, he added.




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