Finance Minister, Kakha Baindurashvili, presented to lawmakers on November 12 draft of 2011 state budget, which is revised from its initial version submitted to lawmakers early in October.
The amended draft slightly revises upwards 2011 revenues to GEL 5.946 billion and expenditures - to GEL 5.8 billion.
The Finance Minister, who described the document as “budget of economic recovery”, said that 4.5% economic growth and 7% inflation rate was forecasted for next year.
He said that the government revised upwards 2010 forecasted inflation from 6% to 9% due to external factors mainly related to increased food prices.
In the revised draft, funding of two ministries was reduced: Finance Ministry and Ministry of Energy to GEL 224.2 million and GEL 50.9 million, respectively.
Funding of six ministries have been revised upwards in the amended draft: Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure – GEL 1.055 billion; Ministry of Economy – GEL 58.3 million; Ministry for Penitentiary System and Probation – GEL 105.5 million; Ministry for Sports and Youth Affairs – GEL 34.5 million.
Funding of other ministries remained unchanged in the revised draft.
Lawmakers from the parliamentary minority criticized the draft for, as they put it, lack of transparency and the failure to properly address the needs of socially vulnerable population.
“This is the budget about non-delivery of the ruling party’s [pre-election] promises,” MP Levan Vepkhvadze of Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), said.
Some opposition lawmakers also criticized the draft for a failure to even slightly increase monthly pensions. President Saakashvili pledged in 2008 to increase of monthly pension up to USD 100. Leader of parliamentary majority, MP Petre Tsiskarishvili, responded this criticism by saying that unlike before the Rose Revolution, pensioners were receiving their pensions without any delay and in addition the government was funding number of social programs aimed at socially vulnerable population.
The existing draft may be further slightly revised before its approval by the Parliament in December.