The Parliament of Georgia discussed on November 3 the revised draft of the 2018 state budget, which was submitted by the Government on October 30, following the latter’s consideration of the legislature’s remarks drawn from the budget-related committee hearings.
According to the revised draft, budgetary revenues will increase by GEL 95 million to GEL 10.215 billion, and the expenditures will be set at GEL 9.532 billion (up by GEL 27.6 million).
Budgetary allocations will increase as well and amount to GEL 12.403 billion (up by GEL 38.8 million). This year’s budgetary assignations stand at GEL 11.415 billion.
Compared to the initial draft of the 2018 state budget, seven ministries will receive increased budgetary funding.
Funding for the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection will increase by GEL 14.5 million. The Ministry of Agriculture will receive additional GEL 10 million to address the consequences of the invasion of marmorated stink bug, a pest which has destroyed large parts of the harvest in Western Georgia. In total, GEL 14 million will be spent for this purpose in 2018.
The Foreign Ministry’s budget will also increase by GEL 4 million; GEL 3 million will be added to the Ministries of Education, Sport and Environment Protection, each. Funding for the Ministry of Health will increase by GEL 1 million.
Other figures of the 2018 draft budget remain unchanged. The government projects 4.5% economic growth next year, and forecasts the inflation rate to be around 3.5%.
Like at the committee hearings phase, opposition lawmakers slammed the draft budget for keeping the amounts of social allowances and pension provisions unchanged.
Finance Minister Dimitri Kumsishvili, who presented the draft budget during the plenary session, responded to their criticism that the government plans to implement a pension reform, which would see the pension provisions increase by GEL 20 in 2019 and in 2020.
According to the budgetary code of Georgia, the Parliament has to present its remarks to the Government before November 16. The Government will then submit the final draft to the legislature (no later than November 30).
The Parliament of Georgia will approve the 2018 state budget till late December.