Thai opposition parties vow to sabotage budget bill in lower house debate

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Opposition parties are preparing to grill the government on the 3.18 trillion baht budget bill for the fiscal year 2023, in a bid to derail it, which is expected to be debated in the House from tomorrow ( Tuesday) until June 2n/a.

Deputy Chief Opposition Whip and Pheu Thai MP in Ubon Ratchathani Somkid Chuekong said yesterday that the Pheu Thai party initially agreed to reject the bill, adding that other opposition parties shared a similar view.

He said that if the budget bill passed its first reading in the lower house, opposition parties would join the House budget review committee to cut budget allocations it deemed unnecessary.

Future Forward party leader Pita Limjaroenrat compared the budget bill to a sick elephant, unable to adapt to changing circumstances, pointing out that the Central Fund received the bulk of the funding, estimated at more than 500 billion baht, but about 80% of the fund is for pensions and medical expenses for serving and retired civil servants.

Regarding state enterprise budgets, Pita noted that the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives has been assigned the largest of all state enterprises, but the fund is intended to be used to subsidize the agricultural sector, instead of being used for the rehabilitation of countries.

Pachara Naripthaphan of the Pheu Thai economic work committee pointed out that the ongoing expenditure for fiscal 2023 of about 2.39 trillion baht represents an increase of 1.01 percent, or 23.9 billion baht. , compared to the current financial year.

As the national economy is still struggling, he said ongoing spending should be reduced, not increased, so that there is more money for economic development.

He also stressed that the defense budget, estimated at 197 billion baht, should be further reduced, as there is no need for expensive purchases, such as submarines, F-35 fighter jets or other military equipment.

Patchara also noted that the 100 billion baht earmarked for loan interest payments is insufficient to cover interest payments on the 10 trillion baht of debt, created by the government over the past eight years in power. adding that the minimum amount of interest on loans should be around 200 billion baht.

Noting that the budget for fiscal year 2023 is about 100 billion baht lower than the budget for 2021, he said it is an indicator that revenue collection has not met targets and the economy is faltering. contracted.

He said what matters most is not the amount, whether big or small, but how effectively the budget is managed and spent. He called on all MPs to reject the budget bill.

Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Democratic Party, Jurin Laksanawisit, today said he was optimistic the budget would pass its first reading, however, as the government still holds the majority vote in the Lower House.

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