Thailand steps up state investment amid COVID-19 impacts hinh anh 1A view of Bangkok capital city of Thailand (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Bangkok (VNA)Thailand is planning to pour 400 billion baht (12.66 billion USD) of state investment into the economy in the second quarter of this year after the passage of the delayed 3.2-trillion-baht (101.1 billion USSD) annual budget bill for fiscal 2020.

Local media quoted Minister of Finance Uttama Savanayana as saying on February 21 that shortly after the budget bill takes effect, 350 billion baht out of the 640 billion baht worth of investment budget can be drawn down because these projects' terms of reference (ToR) have been completed. An additional 96 billion baht will be available for withdrawal later, he said.

The 3.2-trillion-baht annual budget expenditure for fiscal 2020 was supposed to be available from October 1, 2019 but was hampered by the lengthy government installation and legislative process.

The delayed fiscal budget is dragging down economic growth as a result of the impact from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, drought and the global economic slowdown.

The budget bill has been sent for royal endorsement after passing the House and the Senate.

Uttama said the remaining investment budget for fiscal 2020 is under process to draft ToR, which is expected to take 45-50 days to be completed. This investment is expected to be disbursed in the third quarter.

Apart from government investment, state enterprises, with a combined investment target of 350 billion baht this year, are another engine to drive the economy, he said.

In addition, new measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic will be launched soon, while experts forecast that the epidemic will abate in June or July./.