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Tuesday 16.07.2019 | Name days: Hermīne, Estere

Latvian Cabinet of Ministers refuses to allocate additional funds in 2019 budget

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUDuring an open meeting on Monday, 25 March, Latvia’s Cabinet of Ministers refused to allocate additional finances in the 2019 budget. At the same time, members of the government accepted several proposals that clarify the order in which finances are allocated.

For example, the government supported the proposal for allowing payment of bonuses to Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau for successfully uncovering crimes.

On Wednesday, 20 March, the Saeima approved the budget project in the first reading. As it is known, Saeima’s Budget and Finance Committee received nearly 150 proposals. Nearly 60 proposals were for the state budget’s legislative draft. 14 legislative drafts associated with the state budget received 90 proposals.

On 26 March, the Budget Committee will commence reviewing proposals.

It is planned that the final reading of the 2019 budget draft and 14 accompanying legislative drafts will happen in the Saeima on 3 April.

The budget was formed with slight corrections for already commenced measures. The document does not include any new initiatives. Consolidated budget revenue is planned at EUR 9.2 billion, whereas expenditures are planned at EUR 9.2 billion, as members of the Budget and Finance Committee were told by Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš. Compared to last year, this year’s budget revenue is planned EUR 416 million euros and expenditures – by 430 million euros – larger. The general government budget deficit is planned at 0.5% of GDP, whereas GDP growth is planned at 3%.

The 2019 budget project has been coordinated with the European Commission. It also fits fiscal discipline requirements and ensures stable funding for many industries.

EUR 7.2 million is planned to be allocated to implement the plan for the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing. Funding is also planned to help improve the capacity of institutions supervising the financial market.

To ensure compliance with the plan to allocate 2% of GDP for the country’s defence sector, it is planned to divert EUR 60.3 million this year.

Additionally, EUR 3 million will be allocated to finance function of public media, Ombudsman’s Bureau, State Audit and other independent institutions.

EUR 41.3 million is planned to ensure payment of benefits to interior affairs sector’s employees for every five years of work experience, as well as EUR 8.9 million – to increase wages of judges and prosecutors in accordance with the ruling of the Constitutional Court. EUR 87.5 million is planned to be spent on increasing the lowest wages of healthcare employees, and EUR 11.4 million – to raise wages of teachers.

It is also planned to allocate EUR 10.4 million for pension indexation and support of pensioners whose spouse has died. EUR 5.4 million will be allocated to cover costs from the Maintenance Guarantee Fund. EUR 3 million will be allocated to finance better accessibility of medicine to treat rare diseases.

The state budget will also allocate EUR 2.7 million to increase child care benefits and benefits for adults suffering from disabilities from childhood. EUR 1 million will be allocated to increase benefits for every adopted child, whereas EUR 4.8 million – to increase wages of social care workers.

In order to ensure the publication of remaining KGB documents, it is planned to allocate EUR 168,000 for this. EUR 400,000 is planned to be allocated to finance preparation of Latvian Olympic and Paralympic athletes for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

To reduce grey economy in Latvia it is planned to adopt additional measures to further limit accessibility of non-licensed gambling and lotteries, as well as reduce the volume of cash money in real estate and vehicle alienation cases. It is also planned to adopt advance payment system for road vehicle transports. Measures aimed at limiting grey economy in healthcare, public catering, accommodation, passenger transports and security services sectors will be continued.

Budget revenue section, among other things, includes plans for adoption of stricter control measures for state and regional road usage fees, abolishment of natural tax for single-use dishes and other kitchen utensils, as well as termination of payments of benefits for children who have stopped studies and instead have entered employment.

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