The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) has passed into law the 2.9-trillion-baht expenditure budget for fiscal 2018 starting October this year.
The amount, equivalent to 18% of gross domestic product, is 0.8%, or 23 billion baht, lower than the previous fiscal year. Net revenue is estimated at 2.5 trillion baht (15.2% of GDP) and borrowings at 450 billion baht (2.8% of GDP) will be made to make up for the deficit.
As usual, the most watched budget is the central fund since the government can use it at its discretion in cases of emergencies or necessities. The fund is allocated 394.3 billion baht, down 12.2% from the previous year.
Among ministries, Education continued to get the largest portion of the budget, at 511 billion baht, but down 0.6% year-on-year.
Trailing the Education Ministry are Interior (356 billion baht), Finance (238.4 billion baht), Defence (222.4 billion baht) and Transport (172.9 billion baht).
The five ministries seeing the largest year-on-year increases are Science and Technology (27%), Social Development and Human Security (18.9%), Energy (10.8%) and Transport (9.8%).
Only four ministries see their budgets cut from last year. They are Digital Economy and Society (-13%), Industry (-7.8%), Prime Minister’s Office (-4%) and Education (-0.6%).
By strategy, the largest portion, 784.2 billion or 27% of the budget, goes to the “realignment for a balance and development of administrative system of public sector”, which aims to reduce corruption and improve efficiencies in law enforcement, justice, public services and provincial development.