CHIANG MAI, Thailand — Parliament approved the 2018-2019 fiscal year budget on Thursday totaling some 24.72 trillion kyats ($16.1 billion), more than 230 billion kyats less than requested.
The approved total for the coming fiscal year, however, which begins in October, is still significantly higher than the 20.59 trillion kyats approved for 2017-2018.
The cuts to expenses, foreign loans and international support were made judiciously by the Parliament’s assessment teams, said Lower House lawmaker U Pe Than, who sits on the legislature’s Farmers and Labor Affairs Committee.
The assessments were made after the proposed budget was submitted to Parliament on late July.
“The deductions were made mostly to unnecessary expenses in each ministry, but the joint parliamentarians assessment teams put priority on current needs,” U Pe Than said.
The lawmaker said he believed the requests were made with care but added that pricing inconsistencies — discrepancies in the prices listed for similar or identical items by different ministries — were still found by the teams and fixed, accounting for some of the cuts.
The largest cuts, worth 56 billion kyats, were made to the Construction Ministry.
Another 1.7 billion kyats worth of cuts were made to requested defense spending, bringing its total down to 13 percent of the total budget, equal to what was approved for the previous full fiscal year.
Cuts to the budget requests from ministries totaled 122.56 billion kyats, including 18 billion kyats from Health and Sports; 10.7 billion kyats from Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation; 8.5 billion kyats from National Planning and Finance; 8.3 billion kyats from Foreign Affairs; 4.7 billion kyats from Border Affairs; 2.6 billion kyats from Home Affairs; and 1 billion kyats from Education.
More than 4.7 billion kyats were also cut from the requests from non-ministerial nation agencies, along with 11.84 billion kyats from the requests from the Central Bank of Myanmar, the Naypyitaw Union Territory Council and municipalities.