Arkhom says focus is on fiscal discipline

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Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, Minister of Finance

The government is focused on maintaining financial and fiscal discipline after taking on massive borrowing, Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said.

Mr Arkhom said the Ministry of Finance does not foresee more borrowing now and has instructed the Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) to assess the economy and consider the need to launch additional measures to ease the Cost of life.

He said the government had already borrowed huge sums in recent years, like in other countries. Today, many countries are promoting economic recovery by focusing on investment.

Thailand is accelerating capital budget disbursement and focusing on maintaining fiscal discipline, Arkhom said.

He said the government is considering extending the “Khon La Khrueng” co-payment subsidy program as it requires a huge budget and stimulates the economy for a limited period.

These state subsidies should be phased out as the economy returns to normal, Mr. Arkhom said.

The current fourth phase of the co-pay program began on February 1 and is scheduled to end on April 30.

The government still has room to borrow the remaining 70 billion baht under the second emergency lending decree, which allocated a total of 500 billion baht to mitigate the impact of the protracted pandemic.

FPO chief executive Pornchai Thiraveja said the government collected net revenue of 1.09 trillion baht in the first half of fiscal 2022, 6.7% higher than projections for the period. and up 6.8% compared to the same period last year.

The bulk of the revenue came from the revenue department, which collected 853 billion baht for the period, up 15.6% year-on-year.

The Excise Department collected net revenue of 276 billion baht, down 1.8% year-on-year and 5.8% lower than expected. The shortfall was attributed to a temporary reduction in the excise tax on diesel fuel to ease the burden placed on consumers by rising global oil prices.

Mr Pornchai had previously said he believed Thailand’s economy would grow by at least 3% this year, despite soaring prices for energy and household goods caused by the Russian-Ukrainian war.

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