Loan decree needs to be transparent

Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala
Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala

A former finance minister on Monday submitted a petition to the Supreme Admin Court asking it to revoke cabinet approval for a 700-billion-baht loan to combat the kingdom’s public health crisis.

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

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

Mr Thirachai alleged that the mechanisms used to ensure transparency and fiscal discipline were removed and replaced with a cabinet-appointed committee authorised to select and propose projects to the cabinet for consideration.

According to Mr Thirachai, the committee in question was also authorised to supervise projects and issue regulations, which could lead to reckless spending.

“We aren’t opposed to the borrowing because we are aware of people’s plight, and the country needs money to combat the pandemic,” he said. “But we have to ensure compliance with the charter.”

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 on Facebook said that upcoming measures would focus on small and medium enterprises to help save jobs and public spending to stimulate consumption, referring to the 700-billion-baht loan decree.

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

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