By THE NATION
Of the total budget, Bt186.359 billion will be spent on land transport projects, 16 per cent more than the funds earmarked in the 2020 fiscal year, while Bt33.603 will be spent on railway projects, up 28 per cent. The ministry has also earmarked 16 per cent more for waterway projects at Bt4.867 billion and Bt6.120 billion for aviation projects, up 3 per cent.
The top five agencies with the highest allocation of funds are Highways Department at Bt128.577 billion, up 22 per cent, Department of Rural Roads Bt49.465 billion, up 9 per cent, and the State Railways of Thailand Bt18.108 billion, up 33 per cent. The other two are the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand with a budget of Bt15.367 billion and Department of Airports Bt5.799 billion, up 8 per cent.
“I have instructed every agency to be well prepared for the annual budget bill debate in Parliament,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, members of the opposition Move Forward Party attacked the government for allocating a huge chunk of the national budget, Bt223.5 billion, to the Defence Ministry.
Lawmakers began debating on the bill on Wednesday. The government plans to spend Bt3.3 trillion, 3.1 per cent higher than the budget for the current fiscal year, which comes to an end on September 30. The government plans to continually run fiscal deficit , or Bt623 billion shortfall from expected revenue, representing about 4 per cent of the GDP as the government aims to boost the economy that has been severely affected by the Covid-19 fallout.