When the military is on top VII

Prachatai’s opening paragraph says a lot about the military dictatorship when it comments on budget:

Despite a growing deficit, Thailand’s junta-appointed parliament has voted unanimously in favour of a draft government budget that allocates an extra 8.8 billion baht to the Defence Ministry in 2018.

That’s what happens when the military is on top. The report adds:

The draft budget allocates 220 billion baht to the Ministry of Defence, an increase in 8.8 billion baht from last year. This continues a trend where, ever since the 2014 coup, the Defence Ministry’s budget has expanded yearly. The Ministry was allocated 190 billion baht in 2015, and 200 billion baht in 2016.

That’s a 30 billion baht increase since 2015.

If one looks at SIPRI data, in current baht, the military budget has doubled since the 2006 military coup. That followed only marginal increases under the Thaksin Shinawatra regime.

Other areas of the draft budget, especially social sectors, see declines.

Budget increases for the military mean that the commanders can become wealthier than ever before as they drain money to their accounts through commissions and other forms of corruption essentially approved by the junta.

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