January 29, 2020 / 10:45 AM / 21 days ago

Thai court to rule on validity of delayed $104 billion budget bill

FILE PHOTO: A girl walks past a Skytrain (Bangkok Mass Transit System) construction site in Bangkok, Thailand May 13, 2018. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand’s Constitutional Court agreed on Wednesday to rule on the validity of a $104 billion budget bill for the fiscal year that began in October, suggesting a further delay to spending plans aimed at reviving the struggling economy.

Some lawmakers had sought a ruling from the court after the discovery of an irregularity during the parliamentary vote that passed the bill in January.

“The court has taken the case,” the Constitutional Court said in a statement. It did not say how long it would take to make a decision.

The proposed budget foresees a 7% rise in overall spending to 3.2 trillion baht ($104 billion) for the current fiscal year. It projects a budget deficit of 469 billion baht, up 4.2% from the 2019 fiscal year.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy has lagged most regional peers for years, growing an estimated 2.5% in 2019, the slowest pace in five years.

Earlier on Wednesday, the finance ministry cut its 2020 economic growth forecast to 2.8% from 3.3%.

Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Catherine Evans

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