By The Nation
The plan was agreed today at the meeting chaired by Prime Minister and Defence Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, goverment spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat announced today (December 26). The 2021 fiscal year starts in October.
The government is estimating net revenue of Bt2.77 trillion, resulting in a budget deficit of Bt523 billion. It has run fiscal deficits for several years as a means to boost the economy while it was adversely affected by the political turmoil that led to military coup in 2014. This year. the Thai economy has shown sharply slower growth due to falling exports and the delay of government spending on infrastructure projects. The draft bill for the annual budget for fiscal 2020 is still pending in Parliament but is expected to be approved next month. The delay is partly due to the political impasse following the March general election, which saw a coalition government winning a slim majority. Some economists have called for increased spending to rescue the economy, citing more fiscal space given the relatively safe level of public debt at 41-42 per cent of GDP.
The Cabinet on Tuesday (December 24) approved four-year fiscal plan between fiscal years 2021 and 2024 proposed by Finance Ministry. Under the plan, Finance Ministry projects economic growth rate at 3.1-4.1 per cent in 2021, or 3.6 per cent boosted by domestic demand and recovery of the global economy. The headline inflation rate is expected to be in the low range at between 0.7-1.7 per cent.
The government forecasts that the economy will expand by 3.4-4.3 per cent between 2022-2024, and that growth could accelerate to 4 per cent between 2023 and 2024.