The Early Years of the Ministry of Finance: its Establishment and Collapse, 1885–96

  • Ian Brown
Part of the Studies in the Economies of East and South-East Asia book series (SEESEA)


In 1885 Prince Mahāmālā, the head of the Hǭ Ratsadākǭnphiphat (the Finance Office) from its establishment in the early 1870s, retired. He was succeeded first by his nephew, Prince Čhakkraphatdiphong, and then, when Prince Čhakkraphatdiphong became ill, by another of King Chulalongkorn’s brothers, Prince Narāthip Praphanphong.1 It was Prince Narāthip, at that time in his mid-twenties,2 who was to guide the establishment of the modern Ministry of Finance and the introduction of the first financial reforms of Chulalongkorn’s second reform period.


Opium Farmer Expenditure Estimate Financial Reform Custom Department Opium Revenue 
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  1. 1.
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    The following figures are given by Wira Wimoniti, Historical Patterns of Tax Administration in Thailand, Bangkok, 1961, p. 114. Treasury Revenue Receipts 1882–1889 (million baht) 1882:6.92 1886: 13.66 1883:7.39 1887: 12.09 1884:6.03 1888: 13.65 1885: 6.08 1889: 12.02 The break between 1885 and 1886 is very dramatic. Yet figures of the same order of magnitude were quoted in Narāthip to Chulalongkorn, 17 March 1893, NA r5 Kh 3/1. 1886 was the year in which the Kalāhōm agreed to remit all its revenue receipts to the Finance Office.Google Scholar
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    Rātchasakunwong [Royal Genealogy], Bangkok, 1969. For a further comment on the resignation of Prince Narāthip see Suphāphǭn Čharanphat, ‘Phrayā Suriyānuwat nai kitčhakānfin khǭng rathabān’ [Phrayā Suriyānuwat and Government Administration of the Opium Monopoly], in Sirilak Sakkriangkrai (ed.), Phrayā Suriyānuwat (Koet Bunnāk) naksētthasāt khonrāek khǭng mu’ang thai [Phrayā Suriyānuwat (Koet Bunnāk): Thailand’s First Economist], Bangkok, 1980, pp. 170–1.Google Scholar
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    W. A. Graham, Siam, London, 1924, vol. 1, p. 338. This situation was well reflected in the statements of accounted expenditure. Total expenditure fell from 18.17 million baht in 1893/4 to 12.48 million baht in 1894/5. More significantly, the accounted expenditure of the Ministry of the Interior was, at 205 000 baht, the lowest of all the ministries in 1894/5 except the Ministry of Justice: RFAB 1903/4, p. 24. It is evident that to a very considerable extent, the Ministry of the Interior was financing itself outside the budget — from its own sources of revenue.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Ian Brown 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Oriental and African StudiesUniversity of LondonUK

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