6 June 2024

The Thai government’s 3.1 trillion baht spending budget for the 2022 fiscal year passed its second and third readings in the House of Representatives late Saturday night, with 257 in favour and 180 against, following five days of debate. Four MPs voted to abstain and one did not cast a vote.

The bill will now move to the Senate, which is scheduled to debate it on August 30th.

During the debate last night, Move Forward party’s MP Natthapong Ruangpanyavuth said he disagrees with the decision, by the majority of the House budget scrutiny committees, to slash the budget allocated to local administration organizations and to put them under the Central Fund, adding that he does not trust Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who is authorized to disburse money from the fund.

Defending the cuts, Palang Pracharat MP Wichien Chavalit, representing the majority of the House panel, said the 16.3 billion baht in cuts are residual budgets which are not expected to be spent during the current fiscal year.

Speaking on behalf of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, at the end of the vote, Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow thanked all MPs for endorsing the budget bill, as he pledged that the government will take their observations, made during the debate, into consideration and will utilise the budget with utmost efficiency and in the public interest.

House Speaker Chuan Leekpai also thanked the MPs and adjourned the House session at about 1.20am.