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22 Jan, 2015

Thai public sector urged to follow King’s “Sufficiency Economy” concept in budgets

Bangkok, Prime Minister’s secretariat, January 21, 2015 — Today, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, presided over an opening ceremony of a meeting to hand down policy on annual budgeting FY2016 to heads of government offices and state enterprises, as well as concerned agencies in order for all government offices to be on the same page in terms of annual budgeting for FY2016, and for the budgeting to be effective and be in line with the Government’s policies. Participated in the meeting were cabinet members, heads of government offices, provincial governors, executives and officials of state enterprises and other Government agencies, as well as concerned officials and the media, all 1,200 participants in total. Gist of the meeting is as follows:

The Prime Minister stated that budgeting must be completed on schedule to avoid same problems as in the past, and must be efficiently laid out to achieve strategic targets for national mobilization. Restructure of budget may be needed to strengthen the country in all aspects, and to achieve national vision in becoming a sustainably secure and prosperous nation within 5 years (2015-2020).

According to PM Prayut, today was a good opportunity for all to learn more about this Government’s policies. Deputy PM and Defense Minister Gen. Prawit Wongsuwon, in his capacity as Deputy Chief of National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), has taken responsibility as chair of national mobilization committee and will direct key strategies in relevant to the Government policies. Deputy PM M.R. Pridiyathorn Devakula is responsible for the budget ceiling which is now finalized. Budget spending of public offices will be closely scrutinized by a Committee on Following Up and Scrutiny of the Spending of State Budget in order to ensure performance efficiency and national mobilization within the limited time of one year, and to prepare for the realization of ASEAN Community.

PM Prayut reiterated that annual budgeting of all offices must be adjusted to also catch up with the ever-changing global factors, be it, international conflicts, and such issues of global interest as epidemic, sustainable economy, infrastructure connectivity, as well as commuting and transfer.

According to PM Prayut, in a big picture, budget disbursement for the first 3.5 months of fiscal year 2015 is still lower than the Government’s set target, especially investment budget. Nevertheless, it has demonstrated much better progress when comparing with the same period of the previous year. Local administrations, in particular, are urged to efficiently accelerate budget disbursement within the set timeframe. Likewise, the first priority of other government offices is also to make disbursement of budget within timeframe.

Budgeting for FY2016 will be a continuity of FY2015. The Government places importance in adopting “Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy”, as well as strategies which promote “understanding, accessibility and development”, rationality, and immunity in the budgeting process.

Budget ceiling for FY2016 which the cabinet has approved is for the total amount of 2,720,000 million Baht, a 5.6% increase from FY2015. The Government still maintains deficit budget policy since there are still a number of risk factors which may impact national economy. It has targeted budget deficit at 2.9% of GDP which is still an acceptable figure by an international economic standard. At the same time, even though the budget ceiling of FY2016 has increased by 5.6%, the Government will put effort to control regular expenditure to ensure the higher balance for investment expenditure. In this connection, all public offices are urged to review and reduce their regular expenditure where possible, and divert balances into investment projects with prompt operational plan and clear plan of budget disbursement.

Unity in Government’s work operation is another issue of priority. In FY2016, the Budget Bureau has proposed 19 integrative work plans which cover various Government’s key policies. Public offices must review their works in line with the work plans and the Government’s policies. However, integration of work can go beyond the 19 work plans, and all offices were assigned to contemplate on any other work which needs integrative action, such as water management or agriculture related matters, etc. This is in order for the budgeting to be on the same direction and yield tangible results.

In making any work plan, PM Prayut called for all offices to make attempt to collaborate among another in the same ministries, between ministries, provincial and local administrations, the private sector, and civil society sector in integrating their works. Top-down approach must be used in making any work plan. All from the 11th National Economic and Social Development Plan, Government’s policies in 11 areas, national security policy, ministerial master plans, and each office’s strategic plan must be taken into account in the budgeting process and interconnected by the budgeting plan and allocation strategy.

According to the Prime Minister, all offices should also place importance on works related to economy, society, security and politics, natural resources and environment, as well as foreign affairs. They were also urged to ensure transparency and be cautious in budget disbursement within the set framework in order to achieve strategic targets for national mobilization. On behalf of the Government, PM Prayut reaffirmed that the Government undertakes administration of state affairs to ensure transparency, fairness, and the dignity of government officials.