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Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin Defends Transformative 2025 Budget Amidst Economic Debate

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Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin recently stepped up to defend the ambitious 3.75-trillion-baht budget bill for Thailand’s 2025 fiscal year, designed to revitalize the country’s lethargic economy. As the House of Representatives launched into a trio of debate days, Mr. Srettha eloquently described how this hefty budget is poised to unlock Thailand’s full economic potential.

Ever the optimist, Mr. Srettha projected a sprightly economic growth of 2.5% to 3.5% by 2025, with inflation kept in check between 0.7% and 1.7%. He touted the government’s “Ignite Thailand” vision, a strategic roadmap to morph Thailand into a regional powerhouse across eight pivotal sectors: aviation, tourism, wellness and medical, agriculture and food, logistics, future mobility, digital economy, and finance. This well-rounded vision is the compass guiding the allocation of the 2025 budget.

However, Mr. Srettha was candid about potential hurdles, such as geopolitical tensions and trade protectionism, which could pose a threat to global economic stability. But he reassured the House that despite these headwinds, the current administration is committed to offering a tangible economic boost. Central to this is the eagerly anticipated digital wallet scheme, where 50 million eligible citizens are set to receive 10,000 baht each in the last quarter of the year, triggering a ripple effect of grassroots economic stimulation.

“The digital wallet scheme will create economic whirlwinds to stimulate the economy from the grassroots level upwards,” Srettha asserted, painting a vivid picture of increased spending, production, and employment. This, in turn, would drive up tax revenues, funneling funds back into projects that bolster the nation’s competitive edge.

The 2025 budget will be backed by an estimated 2.88 trillion baht in tax revenue, with an additional 865 billion baht loan to offset the budget deficit. Srettha admitted that while the deficit is larger than that of the current fiscal year, the government has earmarked a significant 908 billion baht—or 24.2% of the total budget—for investment purposes. This figure marks a 27.9% boost from the previous year, signaling the government’s intent to aggressively foster economic growth.

Nevertheless, it’s not all smooth sailing. The National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) did report a somewhat disheartening economic growth of 1.5% year-on-year for the first three months, falling short of expectations. With revised GDP growth predictions of 2% to 3% for the year, slightly down from an earlier forecast of 2.2% to 3.2%, it’s clear that challenges persist. Last year’s growth lagged at 1.9%.

On a brighter note, the cabinet gave the green light to the 3.75-trillion-baht budget bill on May 28, setting the stage for the 2025 fiscal year commencing October 1. Intriguingly, 152.7 billion baht has been earmarked for the 500-billion-baht digital money handout endeavor. An additional 122 billion baht from the 2024 fiscal budget will also be funneled into this initiative, with 111 billion baht arising from a budget deficit and the remainder reallocated from other segments of the 2024 budget.

However, the proposed source of these funds has ignited controversy. The Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) was initially flagged to provide 172 billion baht but faces legal limitations in doing so since its mandate restricts financial aid to farmers only.

Adding to the complexity, opposition leader Chaithawat Tulathon of the Move Forward Party fired a salvo at the budget plan. He criticized the government’s loan blueprint, which nearly maxes out the allowable borrowing limit with only a 5-billion-baht buffer. Highlighting the fewer number of new projects—just 163 for 2025 as compared to 2024—Mr. Chaithawat voiced concerns about potential financial instability stemming from the digital wallet scheme.

Democrat Party’s Jurin Laksanawisit chimed in, accusing the government of minimal current-year spending to hoard funds for the digital wallet initiative. He cautioned that such budget maneuvers could plunge the country into financial woes, inflating its debt obligations.

As the debates rage on, the outcome of Srettha’s high-stakes budget bill remains a riveting focal point in Thailand’s quest for economic resurgence. Will the 3.75-trillion-baht lifeline steer the country towards renewed prosperity, or is it a financial tightrope fraught with peril? Only time will tell.


  1. Sam J. June 19, 2024

    This budget seems like a desperate attempt to buy popularity with the digital wallet scheme. How can they justify such a massive loan for this?

    • Emily K. June 19, 2024

      It’s not about buying popularity; it’s about boosting the economy. People need money to spend, especially during tough times.

      • Skeptic123 June 19, 2024

        But what happens when that money runs out? The debt will still be there with nothing to show for it.

      • Sam J. June 19, 2024

        Exactly! Temporary relief doesn’t solve long-term economic issues. It’s a band-aid solution at best.

  2. Nina Patel June 19, 2024

    I think the focus on different sectors like aviation and digital economy is a step in the right direction. Diversification is key!

    • Tommy G. June 19, 2024

      Sure, but doesn’t anyone see the risk of spreading resources too thin across so many sectors? Quality over quantity!

    • Maya R. June 19, 2024

      Diversification might be good but only if it’s done properly. We’ve seen many failed attempts in the past.

    • Nina Patel June 19, 2024

      I get your points, but the country’s economic future can’t rely on a single industry. It’s all about finding the right balance.

  3. GamerGuy99 June 19, 2024

    Can’t believe people actually think this budget will work. Just another way for the politicians to fill their pockets.

    • ConcernedCitizen June 19, 2024

      That’s a bit cynical. While corruption is a problem, the budget plan seems to have genuine objectives.

    • GamerGuy99 June 19, 2024

      Maybe, but history shows us that these ‘genuine objectives’ rarely benefit the common people.

  4. Eleanor M. June 19, 2024

    The digital wallet scheme can be a game-changer if managed correctly. It’s about boosting the grassroots economy and empowering citizens.

  5. Jay S. June 19, 2024

    The loan size is admittedly concerning, but taking risks is sometimes necessary for substantial economic change.

    • RationalBystander June 19, 2024

      True, but should those risks be so heavily reliant on borrowed money? Fiscal responsibility matters too.

  6. TravelBug June 19, 2024

    Investing in tourism and aviation seems like a double-edged sword with all the current global uncertainties.

    • WanderLust June 19, 2024

      For sure. Tourism can be unpredictable, especially post-pandemic. They should focus more on sustainable sectors.

  7. Max T. June 19, 2024

    It’s a bold budget, but I worry about the execution. Thailand has seen many failed ambitious plans.

  8. Mrs. Jones June 19, 2024

    The fact that inflation is projected to be controlled is promising. High inflation can destroy economies and livelihoods.

  9. Ali M. June 19, 2024

    Geopolitical tensions are a wild card. No budget can truly prepare a country for global economic instability.

    • WorldObserver June 19, 2024

      Absolutely. Factors like trade protectionism can derail even the best-laid plans.

  10. Teacher42 June 19, 2024

    I hope they allocate some of this budget to education. A well-educated population is the backbone of any thriving economy.

    • Student123 June 19, 2024

      Totally agree! Investing in education can have long-term benefits for the economy.

  11. Sara L. June 19, 2024

    Focusing on future mobility is exciting. Thailand could become a leader in this field with the right investments.

  12. BudgetWatcher June 19, 2024

    The NESDC’s report is worrying though. Starting off 2025 with only 1.5% growth sounds like a gamble, not a plan.

    • Polly P. June 20, 2024

      But every gamble has risks. The upside potential is worth considering too.

  13. EcoWarrior June 20, 2024

    Hopefully, the budget includes environmental initiatives. Economic growth shouldn’t come at the planet’s expense.

  14. TechEnthusiast June 20, 2024

    The focus on the digital economy is smart. It’s the way of the future and can generate substantial growth.

  15. John D. June 20, 2024

    I’m skeptical about the digital wallet scheme. Past handouts haven’t worked, why would this one?

  16. Critic21 June 20, 2024

    The opposition’s concern about financial instability is valid. If this fails, the country pays the price.

    • Realist June 20, 2024

      Well, if it succeeds, it could propel Thailand to new heights. There’s always a risk-reward balance.

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