Thailand plans to cut its defence budget for 2022 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It will be the third reduction in military expenditure in consecutive years if approved by the country’s House of Representatives next month.
The country’s 2022 budget brief – published recently by the government’s Budget Bureau – shows that Thailand’s proposed defence budget for fiscal year (FY) 2022 (which starts October 2021) will be THB203.28 billion (USD6.5 billion). According to the budget document, this represents a cut of around THB11 billion (or a decline of 5%) compared with the 2021 allocation of THB214.53 billion.
The 2021 allocation amounted to a cut of about THB17 billion (or a decline of 7%) compared with the THB231.74 billion appropriation in 2020.
analysis suggests Thailand’s defence budget will face near-term declines
(Janes Defence Budgets)
However, in terms of the proportion of the government’s proposed overall spending for 2022, the defence budget has risen marginally to 6.6%; in 2021 it was 6.5%. For 2022, the Thai government has been forced to reduce its plan for total spending by 5.6% largely owing to the economic impact of Covid-19.
In 2020, the defence budget amounted to 7.2% of the national expenditure and in 2019 it was about 7.5%. Janes analysis suggests that the last time it was below 7% before 2020 was 2006.
In terms of the 2022 defence budget, the budget brief shows that the Royal Thai Army (RTA) will receive THB99.37 billion (or 49% of the total defence budget), with the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) and the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) allocated THB41.30 billion and THB38.40 billion respectively.