BANGKOK: The Public Debt Management Office (PDMO) has again confirmed the government’s ability to repay recent emergency loans taken out by the government to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.
Patricia Mongkhonvanit, Director General of PDMO. Photo: NNT
The debt ratio in Thailand has been in constant flux, once reaching 59.98% in 2000. At that time the limit was 60%.
The government debt ratio during Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha’s tenure has continued this trend, with most loans going to fund infrastructure projects and quality of life campaigns.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the government needed significant resources to support the healthcare system, boost the economy and provide financial support to the general public. In addition, tax revenues have fallen as more and more people make less money, forcing the government to take on additional borrowing, resulting in higher national debt.
Patricia Mongkhonvanit, director-general of the PDMO, said the government needs to raise the sovereign debt ceiling to allow for more fiscal action.
She said the measures are intended to help improve the economy, noting that the government remains fully able to repay the loans.
The number of citizens filing income taxes last year was about 11-12 million out of a population of 66 million, with only about 2 million paying their taxes in full.
The government now expects to lose about 17 billion baht of its revenue after recently introducing an excise tax cut on diesel fuel. This decline has necessitated emergency borrowing.