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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     12  October  2011                    

Disaster relief funds for flood-stricken Thais

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The Thai cabinet has ordered state agencies to cut 10 percent from their regular budgets to fund 80 billion baht (US$2.6 billion) for flood relief and rehabilitation.

Additional funds may be needed in a supplementary budget later in the 2012 fiscal year in an attempt to prevent impacts from natural disasters in the long term, Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said yesterday.

Ministers yesterday approved framework for the fiscal 2012 budget with expenditures of 2.33 trillion baht and a revenue projection 1.98 trillion, maintaining a deficit at 350 billion baht.

The fiscal year began on October 1 but the budget has been delayed because the new Pheu Thai administration needed to make changes from the spending plan already approved by its Democrat predecessors.

"If the government can generate more income in fiscal 2012, there will be more revenue to invest in prevention for the long term," said Mr Kittiratt.

Mr. Kittiratt asked state agencies on Monday to study a possible increase in the budget deficit to fund investment in disaster prevention.

He said he believed the government could manage an increase in the deficit of another 130 billion baht while the budget for post-flood rehabilitation may rise to 100 billion baht.

The cabinet yesterday established three committees to oversee rehabilitation, dealing with economic, infrastructure and social impact.

Mr. Kittiratt will chair the economic impact committee comprising representatives from the finance, industry and labor ministries. It plans talks today with the Bank of Thailand and state banks about measures to help entrepreneurs and manufacturers. A proposal is likely to be ready by Monday.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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