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Thai $105 bln budget for 2021 fiscal year delayed for a month

* Budget deficit seen at 623 bln baht FY 2021, up 32.8%

* Spending estimated at 3.3 trln baht, up 3.1%

* Budget based on expected 2021 growth of 4.0-5.0%

* Debates on second and third readings on Sept. 16-18

BANGKOK, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Thailand’s $105 billion budget bill for the 2021 fiscal year starting in October is likely to be delayed for a month, a minister said on Monday, as the government tries to revive an economy hammered by the coronavirus pandemic.

But that should not affect spending plans, which can be financed by the current budget until the new one is approved, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam told reporters.

“There should not be a problem at all,” he said.

The House of Representatives passed the first reading of the bill in July and will tackle the second and third readings from Sept. 16-18.

The bill will also need senate approval, expected on Sept. 22, and then the king’s endorsement.

The proposed budget projects a 3.1% rise in spending to 3.3 trillion baht ($105.4 billion) for the fiscal year starting on Oct. 1. It projects a deficit of 623 billion baht, up 32.8% from the 2020 fiscal year.

The budget planners have assumed Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy will shrink 5.0%-6.0% this year before growing 4.0-5.0% in 2021. The finance ministry predicts a record economic contraction of 8.5% this year. ($1 = 31.31 baht) (Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Martin Petty)

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