The meeting of the House committee vetting the 2023 budget bill was chaired by former deputy finance minister Varathep Ratanakorn.
Attending the meeting were Gen Worakiat Rattananont, Defence Ministry permanent secretary, Supreme Commander Gen Chalermpol Srisawat, Royal Thai Army chief Gen Narongpan Jitkaewthae, Royal Thai Navy chief Adm Somprasong Nilsamai, and Royal Thai Air Force chief ACM Napadej Dhupatemiya.
Worakiat told the panel that the Defence Ministry’s budget has declined every year since 2021 – by 6.55 per cent, 6.51 per cent, and 6.19 per cent for 2023.
Worakiat said the defence budget was needed amid volatile global conflicts and expansion by the superpowers of China, the United States and Russia.
He said military budgets worldwide have been trending upwards, with the US setting aside 3.48 per cent of GDP for defence, China 1.74 per cent and India 2.66 per cent.
Worakiat added that Thailand ranks fifth among Asean nations for military spending, allocating only 1.17 per cent of its GDP for defence.
He said the Defence Ministry’s budget is not high when you take into account all of the missions it must carry out each year.
Supreme Commander Chalermpol warned that the military budget is classified by PM’s Office regulations and advised the panel to be careful about disclosing detailed information.
He said Article 52 of the Constitution requires the government to build a strong military force to protect the country.
Published : July 18, 2022
By : THE NATION