Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Government OKs budget deficit of Bt294.5 billion for fiscal 2009

BANGKOK, March 19 (TNA) – The Thai government has approved its Finance Ministry's proposed budget of Bt1.84 trillion for fiscal 2009, including a deficit of Bt294.5 billion.

Finance Minister Surapong Suebwonglee said the cabinet meeting on Tuesday approved in principle a budget of Bt 1.84 trillion, up Bt175 billion from that of Fiscal 2008.

It represents a budget deficit of Bt249.5 billion or 2.5 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP), which meets the ceiling of fiscal sustainability.

He projected the country's economy would grow 5.5 per cent in GDP of Bt10.65 trillion and an inflation rate of 3.5 per cent.

Mr Surapong said the budget deficit was set to meet the fiscal sustainability ceiling because it is the first year the government must earmark up to Bt31.9 billion of the budget to offset a shortfall in the country's fiscal coffers as required under the 2007 constitution.

He viewed the economy would continue to grow since the government had come up with various economic stimulus measures.

Mr Surapong said the first set of the economic stimulus package was aimed at jumpstarting purchasing power and boosting confidence in investment and spending.

The second package will focus on human resources development and training to increase competence for production of value-added products and boost incomes for communities. (TNA)-E005