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Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin Sparks Debate with 2025 Budget Bill Amid Borrowing Concerns

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Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin presented the much-anticipated 2025 Budget Bill to parliament on Wednesday, sparking a lively debate graced by both fervent support and cautioned dissent. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu) The day was charged with fervor as lawmakers dissected the implications of the proposed budget.

The opposition did not hold back, vocally warning the government about the perilous financial straits tied to excessive borrowing. Their concerns stemmed largely from the highly contentious 500 billion baht digital cash handout, a cornerstone of the fiscal 2025 plan. Leading the charge, Move Forward Party leader Chaithawat Tulathon criticized the 3.75-trillion-baht budget presented by the Prime Minister, highlighting that it encompasses 865-billion-baht in borrowing. According to Mr. Chaithawat, this figure perilously nudges the government close to its borrowing ceiling. The wiggle room left for additional borrowing stands at a precarious 5 billion baht, making any further fiscal maneuvering nearly impossible.

Moreover, Mr. Chaithawat drew attention to the stark increase in borrowing planned for fiscal 2025, which has jumped 7.8% from the previous year. “This is the steepest rise in a decade,” he noted, his tone revealing deep unease. The burden of repayments on the government, he argued, would become notably weightier, leaving little fiscal space should the government need to make urgent disbursements or significant future investments.

The crux of the opposition leader’s critique was the financial risk posed by the digital wallet handout embedded within the Budget Bill. He described this one-off payment as an economic stimulant, sourced from the government’s contingency fund. “Relying on short-term consumer stimulation isn’t viable for a sustained economic turnaround,” Mr. Chaithawat warned. He termed the budget allocation as excessively risky, turning the much-touted ‘Ignite Thailand’ policy into what he wittily dubbed ‘Ignore Thailand.’

Echoing these sentiments, Democrat Party leader Jurin Laksanawisit similarly flagged the potential spike in public debt attributable to the digital wallet scheme. He surmised that the government had scaled back its fiscal 2024 expenditures to preserve funds for this innovative but contentious initiative. According to Mr. Jurin, this financial strategizing might throttle the growth of the gross domestic product this year.

In defense of the budget, Prime Minister Srettha took the stand. He characterized the 2025 budget as a blueprint for maximizing national economic growth, perfectly aligned with the government’s ‘Ignite Thailand’ vision. The centerpiece, the 10,000-baht digital wallet handout, will, according to the Prime Minister, reach an impressive 50 million recipients by the end of the year, aiming to energize the grassroots economy on a nationwide scale.

Moreover, PM Srettha assured the parliament that Thailand is financially secure, boasting foreign reserves of US$224.48 billion as of December 31, 2023. He stressed that the budget is conservatively structured yet ambitiously geared towards investment. Out of the total budget, 908.22 billion baht is earmarked for investment, forming 24.2% – the highest proportion in 17 years.

As the debate unfurled, it became clear that the 2025 Budget Bill is as much a financial document as it is a political one, reflecting the government’s priorities and the opposition’s trepidations. Regardless of which side of the aisle one sits, the discourse is sure to continue, shaping the economic landscape and political dynamics of Thailand in the years to come.


  1. Jane Doe June 19, 2024

    I can’t believe the government is pushing through such a risky budget. Borrowing close to their ceiling is insane!

    • Mark B June 19, 2024

      You have to consider the potential benefits of stimulating the grassroots economy. The 10,000-baht handout could energize a lot of local businesses.

      • Lisa Thompson June 19, 2024

        But how long will that stimulus last? Seems like a short-term fix for long-term problems.

      • Jane Doe June 19, 2024

        Exactly! This kind of budget feels more like a political maneuver than a sustainable economic plan.

    • Economist1234 June 19, 2024

      While risky, sometimes aggressive borrowing is necessary to avoid stagnation. A stagnant economy is far worse.

  2. Tom R June 19, 2024

    The idea that this 10,000-baht handout will boost the economy is laughable. People will just pay off debts or save it, not spend it.

    • Sophia Liu June 19, 2024

      Not necessarily. A lot of people will likely spend it on essentials they couldn’t afford before. That can create a ripple effect.

    • Tom R June 19, 2024

      Even if they do spend it, the effect is temporary. This doesn’t solve the underlying economic issues.

  3. John S June 19, 2024

    Isn’t it common for governments to borrow? Seems like the opposition is exaggerating the risks.

    • Paul June 19, 2024

      Common, yes. Sensible? Depends on the context. Right now, getting close to the ceiling is worrying.

    • Jane Doe June 19, 2024

      Exactly, Paul. There’s borrowing, and then there’s pushing your financial system to the brink.

  4. Telegrapher June 19, 2024

    The opposition’s points are valid. The borrowing spike is the steepest in a decade, which should alarm everyone.

  5. Maria Fern June 19, 2024

    I’m all for the digital wallet initiative. It’s innovative and could potentially be a game-changer for many families.

  6. P. Jackson June 19, 2024

    But at what cost, Maria? That money has to come from somewhere, and it might be future generations paying the price.

    • Grower134 June 19, 2024

      Exactly. Borrowing makes sense sometimes, but not to this extent. We need a more balanced approach.

    • Maria Fern June 19, 2024

      Future generations also benefit from a strong economy now. It’s a tricky balance, but ignoring immediate needs doesn’t help.

  7. Ben M June 19, 2024

    Criticizing without offering alternatives is pointless. What are the opposition’s solutions, does anyone know?

  8. Alice Nguyen June 19, 2024

    The problem with the budget isn’t just the borrowing; it’s also the allocation. More funds should be directed towards sustainable initiatives.

  9. LucidDream June 19, 2024

    Thailand’s foreign reserves are strong. This isn’t as dire as the opposition is making it seem.

    • Paul June 19, 2024

      Foreign reserves are a safety net, not an excuse to gamble with the budget.

  10. Bobby K June 19, 2024

    This debate shows the clear divide in how different political groups see fiscal responsibility.

    • Natalie June 19, 2024

      True, Bobby. It’s ideological too, not just about numbers and budgets.

    • Bobby K June 19, 2024

      Exactly. Both sides have valid points, but finding common ground is tough.

  11. Ankita Patel June 19, 2024

    Reducing fiscal 2024 expenditures to fund the 10,000-baht handout? Short-sighted and reckless.

  12. DigitalNomad June 19, 2024

    This digital wallet handout sounds like it might just funnel money right back to big corporations instead of local businesses.

  13. Chris L June 19, 2024

    Every country borrows; the key is to ensure that borrowed money is invested wisely, and that’s the real debate here.

  14. HistProf June 19, 2024

    Historically, nations have faltered when they ignored economic warning signs. Thailand should heed the opposition’s warnings.

  15. LoverOfLight June 19, 2024

    I believe in the PM’s vision. Sometimes you need big, bold steps to ignite real change.

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