Almost 100 billion baht worth of contracts for public works set for the fiscal 2017 budget are set to be signed off on this month as part of government efforts to ramp up state spending to boost the economy.
If state agencies can strike deals for the projects as planned, the budget can be disbursed from December to January as most of the projects are small and worth no more than 2 million baht, said Suttirat Rattanachot, director-general of the Comptroller General’s Department.
To accelerate budget disbursement to ward off downside risks and stimulate the economy, the Finance Ministry has requested state agencies with investment projects in hand prepare the related auctions before budget expenditures for 2017 are signed off on. That will allow them to kick-start the bidding process immediately after the draft budget goes into effect.
The government has required that state agencies get spending underway on projects not exceeding 2 million baht by the end of this year. They also must sign off on contracts for those projects worth more than 2 million baht but not exceeding 1 billion by December, while those worth more have until March of next year to be approved.
Public investment is the main engine driving the country’s economic growth as other engines — domestic consumption, exports and private investment — remain stalled. The government hopes that accelerating state investment can prompt private investment, driving economic growth to 5%.
According to the target for the 2017 budget, 19% of the investment budget worth 547 billion baht must be doled out by this December, 41% by March next year, 63% by June, and 87% by September. The government has set an annual expenditure of 2.73 trillion baht, aiming for 87% disbursement for this fiscal year, starting this month.
For the 2016 fiscal budget, 72.15% of the 457-billion-baht portion allocated for investment was taken out, and 90.16% of 2.72-trillion total had been drawn down as of Sept 16.
Thailand: Public works get boost