Out of all proposals worth a total of EUR 180 million, Latvia’s government supported proposals worth EUR 9 million, Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola told journalists after the 10 November government meeting.
«The appetite of Saeima deputies is rather large, as we have received hundreds of budget proposals. The total funding offered by deputies in their proposals is worth more than EUR 136 million for expenditures and more than EUR 46 million for revenue. If all desires were to be realized, it would be too much for the government’s budget capabilities,» – the minister said.
Of this amount, the government decided to recommend a handful of projects worth approximately EUR 9 million. Work on more proposals will continue and it is no excluded that the Saeima may yet support other proposals.
Reizniece-Ozola noted that the Saeima will continue holding discussions about the governments supported and unsupported proposals. «Discussions will be active, and experience shows that there will be other supported proposals. The government has nonetheless established a roadmap,» – admitted the minister.
«We have managed to maintain all important matters associated with efforts to combat grey economy, establishment of responsibility in construction field, creation of a register for accounts and others,» – said the minister.
When asked where the government plans to find the additional EUR 9 million to afford the supported proposals, Reizniece-Ozola said part of that amount had already been planned in advance. The remaining amount will be taken from the budget for emergencies.
«Some proposals submitted by deputies included alternative sources of funding. The majority of proposals submitted to the Saeima are based on taking funding from the budget for emergencies,» – said the minister.
Reizniece-Ozola believes a situation in which a major draining of finances from the budget for emergencies is unacceptable, especially considering the unstable economic situation in the country. «It would be best if we retained some layer of fat in the form of fiscal reserve,» – added the minister.
As previously reported, the next year’s budget project has received more than 360 proposals. The three-year budget project has received 330 proposals.
In healthcare, funding increase is planned at nearly EUR 64 million more than this year. This is related to the realization of reforms in healthcare to ensure better accessibility of oncological, diagnostics, rehabilitation and physical healthcare services. Additional funding will also be provided to finish the reconstruction of P.Stradins Hospital’s new building and maintenance of an information system in healthcare.
Defence funding is planned to be EUR 98 million larger in comparison with 2016. This is related to the need to increase the country’s defensive capabilities. Funding for defence is planned to be equal to 1.7% of GDP. In 2018, it is planned to be increased to 2%.
An important increase in funding is expected in the education sector for the further realization of the teachers’ pay reform.
An additional amount of EUR 9 million is planned to be allocated to help resolve demographic problems. It is also planned to increase benefits to large families for the fourth and every next child to EUR 50.07. More support will also be allocated to children who lost their parents.
Minimum wage amount is planned to be increased to EUR 380.
The 2017 state consolidated budget’s revenue is planned at EUR 8.066 billion; expenditures are planned at EUR 8.367 billion.
The final reading of the budget is scheduled for 23 November.