Finance Minister presents state budget draft for 2015

Finance Minister Peter Kažimír presented the state budget proposal in parliament on December 2, thus officially launching a debate.

Finance Minister Peter Kažimír presented the state budget proposal in parliament on December 2, thus officially launching a debate.

“I’m convinced that the budget submitted is the most balanced in Slovakia’s history, and this is attested to by assessments from the European Commission as well as [Slovakia's] Council for Budgetary Responsibility,” Kažimír said, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

He praised the fact that the government has again set itself more ambitious objectives than those required by European rules and national legislation. “This is a significant step towards a structurally sound budget regardless of who is in the government after the general election in the spring of 2016,” said the minister.

Kažimír’s presentation of the budget took more than 30 minutes, and long deliberations are now expected to take place in the parliament. The proposal, cleared by parliamentary finance and budget committee on November 24, envisages a public finance deficit of 2.29 percent of GDP next year instead of the initially predicted figure of 1.98 percent of GDP. A reserve of 0.2 percent of GDP has been earmarked to cover risks in macroeconomic developments.

Kažimír also said that the “flagship” of socially oriented measures in the budget is the introduction of a deductible item on health-care levies, towards which €150 million has been allocated. Another key measure is an increase in the salaries of teachers, a move costing €50 million. The minister went on to say that the expenditures incurred in servicing the state debt are now at all-time lows, which attests to the country as a trustworthy partner for foreign investors.

Kažimír also said, as quoted by the SITA newswire, that the government continues with the consolidation trend of recent years, when it was confirmed that the criticism from the opposition about alleged unrealistic premises of previous budgets have proven misplaced.

“I believe that this time we will not see the budget torn to pieces as an expression of beliefs that the plan unrealistic,” he told MPs.

(Source: TASR, SITA)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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