* Budget deficit seen at 623 bln baht FY 2021, up 32.8%
* Spending estimated at about 3.29 trln baht, up 2.8%
* Budget based on expected 2021 growth of 4.0-5.0%
BANGKOK, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Thailand’s parliament on Friday passed a $105.7 billion budget bill for the 2021 fiscal year starting in October, aimed at reviving an economy battered by the global impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
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.
After a three-day debate, the bill’s final reading passed with 269 votes in favour, 60 against and 121 abstentions.
“The government will use the budget to drive the economy and urgent policies for the country’s sustainable growth,” Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told the House of Representatives.
The proposed budget foresees revised spending of 3.29 trillion baht ($105.7 billion) for the fiscal year starting on Oct. 1, up 2.8% from the current fiscal year. It projects a deficit of 623 billion baht, up 32.8%.
The bill will also need senate approval, expected on Sept. 22, and then the king’s endorsement.
Earlier this week, the government said the 2021 budget could be delayed by a month but that should not affect spending plans.
$1 = 31.12 baht Reporting by Orathai Sriring and Panarat Thepgumpanat; editing by Philippa Fletcher
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