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Budget Bill

Private sector breathes sigh of relief after court ruling on Budget Bill

Pimol Thampitakpongspokeman of Constitutional Court announced the Constitutional Court

Pimol Thampitakpongspokeman of Constitutional Court announced the Constitutional Court

The business sector yesterday welcomed the Constitutional Court's unanimous ruling that the 2014 Budget Bill did not violate the charter.

Payungsak Chartsutipol, president of the Federation of the Thai Industries (FTI), said the private sector would be delighted with the court's approval of the budget for the 2014 fiscal year, which started on Tuesday.

Budget disbursement should help promote economic growth in the current quarter and throughout most of next year, he said.

"After receiving the opinions of FTI members, they have a positive outlook on growth in the fourth quarter. The government's budget disbursement should help stimulate economic growth and private business growth," he said.

He said the court's decision was welcome, as many key projects were still awaiting a concrete and quick solution to the budget impasse.

Any delay in some projects could create problems and result in slower development, the FTI chief added.

Issara Vongkusolkij, chairman of the Board of Trade of Thailand and the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said the court's judgment had ended the conflict over the budget, which should benefit the country's growth.

Fiscal 2014 budget disbursement should not be delayed, he said, amidst concern in the private sector about the slowdown in economic growth.

The court's ruling and quick disbursement should ensure the economy does not expand by less than 4 per cent this year, he added.

Issara Boonyoung, adviser to the Business Housing Association, said the Constitutional Court's ruling meant the government could now hopefully introduce the measures required to boost the country's economic growth in the current quarter.

"This will help the government to spend the budget to boost the economy at a time when consumer purchasing power has dropped. Public spending will compensate for the fall in consumer spending," he said.

Yesterday's verdict by the Constitutional Court judges means the government can immediately seek royal endorsement for the Budget Bill. When it is passed into law, the government can begin to disburse spending which has been delayed from October 1.

Pheu Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit thanked the court for the speedy verdict, as any delay could have affected public confidence.

He also said that opposition MPs should review their tactics and not politicise an issue merely for political gain.

On September 5, a petition signed by 115 MPs and senators was submitted to the Parliament president asking for the Constitutional Court to issue a ruling on whether the 2014 Budget Bill violated the charter.

The petition was initiated by appointed Senator Paiboon Nititawan and Songkhla Democrat MP Wirat Kalayasiri.

In the petition, they argued that the House's ad hoc committee to alter the bill had not consulted with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) or any court, including the Administrative Court, before cutting their budgets.

The House panel had decided unilaterally to cut the proposed budget of courts and independent agencies.

Originally, the 2014 budget allotted to the courts of justice was Bt18.7 billion, including Bt2.2 billion for the Administrative Court and Bt1.5 billion for the NACC.

The committee later altered these figures to Bt14.5 billion, Bt2 billion and Bt1.3 billion, respectively.

Earlier yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Pongthep Thepkanchana voiced optimism over a favourable judicial ruling.

"The bill has not violated any charter provisions and the Constitutional Court has not been empowered to review the budgetary allocation," he said.

At a cosmetics fair yesterday, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra refrained from commenting on the verdict.




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