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.
Breakdown of funding for 2010 per ministry is as follows:
- Ministry of Labor, Healthcare and Social Protection – GEL 1.599 billion (GEL 1.534 billion in 2009);
- Defense Ministry – GEL 749 million (GEL 897 million in 2009; GEL 1.547 billion in 2008);
- Interior Ministry – GEL 548 million (GEL 568 million in 2009; GEL 739 million in 2008);
- Finance Ministry – GEL 303 million;
- Economy Ministry – GEL 23.8 million;
- Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure – GEL 815 million (GEL 869 million in 2009);
- Energy Ministry – GEL 17.8 million (GEL 57 million in 2009);
- Justice Ministry – GEL 45.3 million (GEL 64 million in 2009);
- Ministry for Penitentiary System and Probation – GEL 113.4 million (GEL 119 million in 2009);
- Foreign Ministry – GEL 66.5 million;
- Ministry of Education and Science – GEL 561.68 million (GEL 519 million in 2009);
- Ministry of Culture, Protection of Monument and Sports - GEL 81.5 million (GEL 86 million in 2009);
- Ministry of Agriculture – GEL 53.3 million;
- Ministry of Environment Protection - GEL 28.5 million (GEL 41 million in 2009);
- Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation – GEL 27.8 million (GEL 62.9 million in 2009);
- Office of the State Minister for Reintegration Issues – GEL 1 million (GEL 1.3 million in 2009);
- Office of the State Minister for Integration into European and Euro-Atlantic Structures – GEL 1.151 million (GEL 1.130 million in 2009);
- Office of the State Minister for Diaspora Issues – GEL 762 thousand (GEL 906 thousand in 2009).
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.