The Parliament approved on December 4, the 2010 state budget, which sets revenues at GEL 5.171 billion (GEL 6.46 billion in 2009) and expenditures - at GEL 5.459 billion (GEL 6.95 billion in 2009).
While speaking at the Parliament’s session on December 4 Finance Minister Kakha Baindurashvili described the budget, draft of which was revised for several times before being passed, as “realistic.”
He said that GDP was expected to increase by 2% next year, reaching GEL 19 billion. He also said that the country’s economy contracted 4% in 2009. Projected inflation for 2010 is set at 6%.
Baindurashvili also said that next year the healthcare, education and road infrastructure construction will receive increased funding.
In 2010 the president’s and government’s reserve funds will receive GEL 25 million each (instead of GEL 50 million in 2009 for each).
Funding of the president’s administration will be increased up to GEL 16.9 million and the government’s administration will be reduced to GEL 7.5 million.
The Georgian parliament will receive GEL 40 million in 2010.
GEL 708 million will be allocated for development of road infrastructure.
In 2010 South Ossetia’s Provisional Administration, led by Dimitri Sanakoev, will receive GEL 8.8 million instead of GEL 5 million envisaged in the initial draft of the budget.
The Finance Minister said that in 2010 GEL 829 million will be allocated to local self-governments, that is by GEL 264.8 million more than it was in 2009.
Because of planned local elections in May, 2010, funding of the Central Election Commission will increase up to GEL 37.2 million. GEL 6.3 million, out of this sum, is envisaged for funding of political parties.
The 2010 state budget envisages GEL 1.5 million for the Public Defender’s Office (GEL 2 million in 2009).
The Georgian Public Broadcaster will receive GEL 22 million next year, instead of GEL 25.5 million in 2009.
When asked by the parliamentary minority whether the Finance Ministry plans to allocate additional funds for reorganization of the public TV’s Channel Two, Baindurashvili responded that the public broadcaster should cover all necessary expenses from already allocated budget.
The Georgian Orthodox Church will receive GEL 25.3 million next year, against GEL 25 million in 2009.
The parliamentary minority did not support the budget citing several motives; one was related to claims that the budget does not envisage measures for “stimulating small and medium business.” The parliamentary minority lawmakers also said that the proposed budget was not transparent.
Lawmakers from the parliamentary minority also complained that the budget did not envisage a pledge by President Saakashvili to increase monthly pensions up to USD 100. The ruling party lawmakers responded that it was not possible to deliver with this promise because of the last year’s August war, global economic crisis and the opposition’s street protest rallies in spring, 2009.
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