Higher state investment budget set to shore up economy

Economy June 12, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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A higher state investment budget will be set for fiscal 2015 to prop up the economy, according to the Budget Bureau, which will focus on projects that are ready to go.

Bureau director Somsak Chotrattanasiri said that although the 2015 investment budget was set at 17.5 per cent of the total budget, equivalent to the 2014 proportion, the actual amount would be 2.2 per cent or about Bt9.45 billion higher at Bt450 billion.

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has approved a state budget plan for the next fiscal year starting on October 1, with a deficit of Bt250 billion, similar to the current year’s. As proposed, spending is forecast at Bt2.575 trillion, and revenue of Bt2.325 trillion.

If the investment budget’s disbursement is accelerated, that could stimulate the economy in 2015 more than in 2013, Somsak said.

He said the bureau had asked the NCPO to make sure state agencies with investment budgets are ready for project implementation, extending from design, environmental assessment to land preparation, from the beginning of next fiscal year.

“Despite the equal budget proportion for investment in this and next fiscal years, if 80 per cent of the budget is disbursed, that could bring more investment into the economic system than in this fiscal year,” Somsak said.

Large projects that had been part of the now-defunct Bt2-trillion mega-project and will get under way in fiscal 2015 include double-tracking railways and Skytrain expansion.