Increasing taxes is not the answer to government’s budget shortfalls, opposition MP says

The Thai government must do more to ease the financial strain placed upon the people due to the pandemic and the struggling economy, an opposition parliamentarian told Thai Enquirer on Monday.

The country has seen commodity prices jump due to inflation, stagnant wages, and increasing unemployment due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite the economic downturn, the Thai government is aiming to increase taxes including land and building tax, international tourist tax and cryptocurrency trading tax in a move criticized by opposition MPs.

Pachara Nariphathaphan, a member of the Executive Committee for Economic Strategy for the Pheu Thai Party, told Thai Enquirer that the moves by the government were giant “missteps” and regrettable moves in the current economic climate.

“The government’s plan to raise taxes despite soaring product prices, is placing more burden on the people,” Pachara said.

Pachara said that the government’s management of the economy has been inefficient and that more taxes should not be introduced just because the government failed to meet its tax revenue targets.

In October, Pornchai Thiraveja, the director of the Fiscal Policy Office, told reporters that the government collected some 2.369 trillion baht in levies, some 11.5% or about 307 billion baht lower than its target.

Pachara said that despite the lower than expected tax revenue, the government should not be placing the responsibility on the electorate when there are other avenues to reduce costs or increase funds.

“The government should reduce its expenses including the purchase of weapons, military hardware, and unnecessary imports,” Prachara said.

“What it should be doing instead is using every possible means to increase the people’s purchasing power.”

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