Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Budget not responding to flood crisis: Abhisit

Budget not responding to flood crisis: Abhisit

The 2012 Budget Bill has failed to reflect flood-related problems and neglected to factor in the post-flooding circumstances, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Wednesday.

"The government has made distorted assumptions about flood impacts when making budgetary allocations," he said, leading the opposition's critique of the planned spending.

Abhisit said he understood that allocations had been prepared in the midst of the flood crisis and while facing time constraints.

"The opposition parties want to see a speedy disbursement of the budget to help flood victims," he said.

He said he had four points about the budgetary allocations.

Firstly, the spending plans are not compatible with the economic situation, particularly the projection for revenues in the face of flood damage.

Secondly, the government presents no clear plans on how to overcome the crisis.

Thirdly, the government fails to rearrange spending priorities despite the urgency for post-flooding reconstruction. Unnecessary populist policies, such as the first-car scheme, still received funding.

Fourthly, the government has earmarked Bt120 billion in the central budget without giving any specifics on how recovery efforts would be carried out for flood victims.

The Democrat Party leader called for the government to reassess the economic situation in order to brace for the budget deficit, which he expects to increase beyond the projected Bt400 billion.

He said the government should review its spending priorities in order to free up funds for post-flooding reconstruction.

He also said that during the 45-day vetting of the spending plans, the government should try to supply more details about recovery efforts, hence ensuring transparency.
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