Investment budget spending on track to meet year’s goal

Investment budget disbursement is on track to achieve a target of 87% for this fiscal year after 79% of the annual budget has been doled out, the head of the Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) said yesterday.

As of Aug 25, 63% was disbursed if the 190-billion-baht mid-year budget is included, said Krisada Chinavicharana, director-general of the FPO.

The government has set an investment budget of 548 billion baht for this fiscal year, ending Sept 30.

Mr Krisada said 83.2% of the 2.73-trillion-baht annual budget expenditure for fiscal 2017 had been taken out as of Aug 25, compared with the year’s target of 96%.

For the mid-year budget, he said 64% was already drawn down and that a 27-billion-baht repayment to treasury reserves accounted for the majority.

Amid tepid private investment and domestic consumption, state investment and spending have served as crucial engines in driving the country’s economic growth.

The National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) said recently that Thai GDP rose 3.7% year-on-year in the April-June period after expanding 3.3% in the first quarter.

The rise marked a 17-quarter high since 5.2% growth in the first quarter of 2013. In the first half, the economy grew 3.5% year-on-year.

The stronger-than-expected growth prompted the government’s think tank to raise its 2017 forecast range to 3.5-4% from 3.3-3.8% projected in May.

In a related development, the government mustered 1.91 trillion baht in revenue for the 10 months to July, 6.75 billion baht or 0.4% above the target but 3.1% lower than a year earlier.

The lower revenue collection for the first 10 months of this fiscal year could be attributed to a series of factors: a lack of extra revenue collected from telecom spectrum auctions, income realisation of government bond premiums, and tax payments from the Government Lottery Office recorded over the same period a year ago. Revenue from excise taxes on fuel and beer, and corporate income tax exceeded targets.

Revenue collection is also expected to achieve its target of 12.34 trillion baht this fiscal year, he said.

The Revenue Department’s tax collection fell short of the mark by 60.3 billion baht or 4.1% to 1.4 trillion, he said. Value-added tax was 41.2 billion baht or 6.3% lower than the target and petroleum tax missed its goal by 24.8 billion baht.

Corporate income tax surpassed its target by 16.9 billion baht or 4.1%.

Excise tax amounted to 465 billion baht, exceeding the target by 6.37 billion baht or 1.4%.

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