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NEWS UPDATES 12 June 2010

Fiscal Efficiency in Thailand

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As Thailand heads strongly out of the worldwide recession along with other Asean members, its finance minister is calling for improved efficiency in tax collections and public expenditures to bolster the country's long-term fiscal position.

Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij said Thailand had broad fiscal stability, although the 2011 fiscal budget starting from Oct. 1 is the fifth consecutive year of deficit spending.

Past governments and the current administration have set deficit budgets to compensate for lower tax revenues and the need for fiscal stimuli during the economic crisis. The 2011 budget calls for spending of 2.07 trillion baht, a 21.8 percent increase over the current budget. The 2011 deficit is projected at 420 billion baht.

Mr. Korn said the deficit was unlikely to be a problem so long as the economy continues to expand with economic growth this year at 4 percent. The minister warned that cutting back fiscal stimulus too early could have negative implications for the economy.

Mr Korn said that government tax collections, currently 15 percent of gross domestic product, were relatively low compared with other countries. The finance minister declined to say when a return to a balanced budget position was possible, Mr. Korn said the government had taken steps toward an "exit strategy" as the economy had improved.

Such steps included allowing tax breaks for the property sector to expire this year, as well as the cancellation of a proposed 400-billion-baht emergency spending bill.


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