Tuesday, 21 November 2017 | News today: 4

Government to discuss 2018 budget

vlada-sednica-696x463-768x510-520x345

The 2018 draft-Budget will be discussed at a Government session later on Thursday.

The 2018 budget is projected at MKD 211,7 billion (EUR 3,44 billion). Revenues are planned at MKD 193,5 billion (EUR 3,14 billion) with budget deficit estimated at MKD 18,2 billion (EUR 296 million), i.e. 2.7% of the GDP. MKD 24,7 billion (EUR 401,5 million) are planned for capital expenditures as the proposed budget also includes funds allowing salaries to be raised in education, heathcare, as well as pensions, which are going to be aligned with the costs of living.

Most of the expenditures are intended for pensions, social and children’s protection covering 32% of overall expenditures, 19% are planned for economic development and financial affairs, 14% goes to healthcare, 11% are foreseen for education, science and sports, 5% for construction, transport, communications and environment, agriculture and public order and safety, 3% for defense, 2% each for foreign affairs and EU integration and culture with one per cent intended for judiciary and regional development.

Salaries are projected at MKD 27,1 billion (EUR 440 million) with an increase of MKD 460 million (EUR 7,47 million) for all army servicemen, new employments in kindergartens, as well pay hikes in healthcare, education and for kindergarten staff by 5%.

As regards capital expenditures, a growth is planned by MKD 1,3 billion (EUR 21,1 million) – an increase compared to the 2017 supplementary budget. The Minister said it was planned to increase all the activities regarding road and railway infrastructure, public works and energy infrastructure, investments in healthcare, education and children’s protection. In particular, funds are boosted for defense and gasification.

MKD 17,2 billion (EUR 280 million) are foreseen for goods and services, a drop by 2.4% compared to the projected rate for 2017.

The draft-budget also stipulates increase of oil excise duty by MKD 3 (EUR 0,05), resulting in higher revenues by MKD 1,6 billion (EUR 26 million) for the State Roads public enterprise.

A public debate on the draft-budget was held, including Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, Finance Minister Dragan Tevdovski and experts in the field. The document was also presented before trade unions, chambers of commerce and NGOs.

The Government should forward the draft-budget to the Parliament by November 15 at the latest.