NBTC panned over budget

NBTC panned over budget

Bangkok Post file photo

The Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) criticised the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission's (NBTC) budget spending as not being cost-effective, noting it often resorted to special procurement schemes which are prone to graft.

The criticism was contained in an annual report the OAG presented to the Senate for review on Tuesday.

Deputy auditor-general Klednatee Manosan said the NBTC frequently has leftover funds from various projects, which either meant the commission consistently failed to utilise the earmarked funds, or the commission set its budget way too high.

Ms Klednatee noted that in the past three years, the NBTC asked for and got a budget of 6-7 billion baht annually. However, an OAG audit found it only managed to disburse 5 billion baht a year.

In 2017, the NBTC requested 1.3 billion baht to fund 111 projects. But only 96 were carried out. That year, the commission used 564 million baht, or 41% of the budget it had requested.

Despite the inefficiency, the NBTC was granted a budget of 5.8 billion baht in 2018.

The OAG also found the commission often failed to follow procurement regulations, preferring to set up special schemes with few checks-and-balances, creating a risk of collusion and graft.

“This is why some of the NBTC’s projects were unrealistically expensive, increasing the state’s financial burden.”

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