Cabinet approves B560bn in new borrowing

Cabinet approves B560bn in new borrowing

Sum to be allocated in fiscal 2024 is equal to original cost of digital wallet stimulus

Cabinet approves B560bn in new borrowing

The cabinet on Tuesday approved an additional 560 billion baht in new borrowing for the 2024 fiscal year, on top of 194 billion baht previously approved.

Total new borrowing in the fiscal year would be 754 billion baht, government spokesperson Chai Wacharonke told a briefing.

The sum of 560 billion baht happens to be the original figure given for the cost of the Pheu Thai government’s digital wallet stimulus programme, which has faced numerous delays.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and other officials have insisted the digital cash handout of 10,000 baht each to 50 million people will go ahead despite widespread criticism about the cost and scepticism about its effectiveness in stimulating the economy.

Mr Chai said the newly approved borrowing was part of a wider revised debt management plan, which includes the restructuring of existing debt of 2 trillion baht and repayments of about 400 billion.

The government has said the new borrowing would be mainly for financing a budget deficit.

The 2024 fiscal budget projects higher spending of 3.48 trillion baht for the fiscal year ending Sept 30, and a deficit of 693 billion baht.

The budget was delayed from the original Oct 1, 2023 start date due to the long delay in forming a government after the May 14 elections last year. Officials have said the budget should be ready by May.