All three members of the ruling coalition have agreed to support the draft state budget for next year, according to Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico.
"We feel strong enough to be able to say that approval of the budget is on the right track", Fico said after a Coalition Council meeting on Wednesday, October 21. He added that the draft bill should be approved with just two or three proposed changes, one of them regarding an increase in the budget of the Slovak Academy of Sciences by €10 million.
In line with deadlines set by the law, MPs should start discussing the draft state budget for 2010 on October 30. Fico said he expects the budget to be approved in a positive and creative atmosphere, with lawmakers having sufficient space for debate. The proposed budget assumes overall revenues of €12.531 billion and expenditures of €16.277 billion, the SITA newswire wrote.
Expenditures are planned to rise by 15 percent year-on-year. The state budget deficit for next year should be €3.746 billion, compared the government-approved deficit for 2009 of only slightly over €1 billion. However, the 2009 budget deficit will actually be significantly higher due to the global economic crisis and a major drop in revenues. According to the approved budget, the highest y/y increase in expenditures, at 29.3 percent to €494.35 million including EU funds and national co-financing, will be to the budget of the Ministry of Construction and Regional Development. It is followed by the Ministries of Agriculture and Economy, with identical increases of 18.7 percent. Spending by the Ministry of Agriculture is projected to be €1.159 billion and the Economy Ministry's expenditure €319.167 million.
The real priorities of next year's budget are, according to the prime minister, the Ministries of Health, Education and Labour. The Health Ministry budget including EU funds will increase by 10.3 percent to €1.44 billion, the Education Ministry by 8.2 percent to €2.348 billion and the Ministry of Labour by 4.1 percent to €1.967 billion.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.