Minister unveils draft budget; education tops expenditures

SLOVAKIA’s public finance deficit should reach 2.9 percent of GDP next year, according to a draft state budget presented yesterday by Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš. The draft budget covers the period between 2006 and 2008.

Planned expenditures are estimated at Sk327.2 billion. Income is predicted to reach Sk265.6 billion. The draft state budget would direct most of its money to education, health care, transportation and the social sector, the Hospodárske noviny daily reported.

Retirement pensions should increase by 4.5 percent in 2006, while real wages should lift by 3.9 percent. Household consumption should increase by 4.5 percent.

How the government will spend its reserve, totaling Sk5.4 billion, is open for discussion. The Finance Ministry proposed that Sk600 million be used to fill the gap between elementary and secondary school teacher wages and the national average. The ministry estimates that in 2006, the national monthly income average will be Sk18,300.

The ministry also wants Sk400 million put toward science, research and innovation as part of the so-called Minerva programme. It wants Sk200 million put toward a cultural sights renewal programme as well.

Heated discussions over the draft budget are expected, especially over the distribution of the remaining Sk4.2 billion of the cabinet’s reserve.

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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