The loan decree must be transparent


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A former finance minister on Monday submitted a petition to the Supreme Administrative Court asking it to revoke cabinet approval for a 700 billion baht loan to tackle the public health crisis in the kingdom.

The cabinet recently approved the draft executive decree authorizing the government to borrow an additional 700 billion baht to revitalize the economy battered by the latest wave of Covid-19 infections.

Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala, who was finance minister from 2011 to 2012, said he did not oppose the borrowing plan, which is essential to get the economy back on track. However, he said the loan decree was deemed illegitimate and unconstitutional.

Mr Thirachai alleged that the mechanisms used to ensure transparency and fiscal discipline had been abolished and replaced by a committee appointed by the cabinet authorized to select and propose projects to the cabinet for review.

According to Thirachai, the commission in question was also authorized to supervise projects and issue regulations, which could lead to reckless expenses.

“We are not opposed to borrowing because we are aware of the plight of people and the country needs the money to fight the pandemic,” he said. “But we have to make sure that the charter is respected.”

In the petition, Mr. Thirachai also asked the court to revoke the 1 trillion baht loan decree approved by the cabinet in April last year.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Facebook that upcoming measures will focus on small and medium-sized businesses to help save jobs and government spending to boost consumption, referring to the $ 700 billion loan decree baht.

Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said the Ministry of Finance will provide details soon.

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About Christopher Easley

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