BANGKOK: The Public Debt Management Office (PDMO) has reaffirmed that the government is capable of repaying the recent emergency loans taken out by the government to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.
Patricia Mongkhonvanit, Director General of PDMO. Photo: NST
The debt to GDP ratio in Thailand has been in a constant state of flux, once reaching 59.98% in the year 2000. The limit was 60% back then.
The public debt ratio under the administration of Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha continued this trend, with most loans being used to fund infrastructure projects and quality of life campaigns.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the government needed substantial funding to support the healthcare system, stimulate the economy, and provide financial assistance to the general public. Compounding the problem, tax revenues have fallen as more people earn less money, forcing the government to take on additional borrowing which results in higher public debt.
Patricia Mongkhonvanit, chief executive of PDMO, said the government should raise the public debt ceiling to facilitate more financial measures.
She said the measures are intended to help improve the economy, while noting that the government remains fully capable of repaying loans.
The number of citizens filing personal income tax last year was around 11-12 million out of a population of 66 million, of which only around 2 million paid their taxes in full.
The government now expects to lose some 17 billion baht from its revenue stream after recently introducing a reduction in excise duty on diesel fuel. This fall necessitated the subscription of emergency loans.