Budget 2018: Higher growth and salaries, debt repayment

Budget 2018: Higher growth and salaries, debt repayment
The Parliament's Committee on Finances and Budget launched Monday the discussion on the 2018 draft-Budget, which Finance Minister Dragan Tevdovski said focus on improvement of the economy and citizens' lives, not luxury and unnecessary projects.

"The draft-budget projects more funds for the key pillars of society: higher salaries in the army, health, education and children's care. There is increased financing for approximation to NATO standards, support for domestic enterprises and employment measures, as well as capital investments. Past debts and outstanding liabilities will also be covered", said Tevdovski in the budget elaboration.

He added that the draft-budget reflected the government's objectives and priorities: higher growth rates, increase of productive employment, raising the population's standard, rising social justice and intensification of EU and NATO integration processes.

Total revenues of the 2018 consolidated budget are projected at MKD 193,5 billion (EUR 3,14 billion) while expenditures at MKD 211,7 billion (EUR 3,44 billion). The budget deficit stands at 2.7 percent of the GDP.

"The budget deficit lowering from 2.9 to 2.7 percent reflects the government's commitment for gradual fiscal consolidation, achieved through strict control and strong budget discipline by lowering of less productive expenditures and a significant amount for capital investments and subsidies supporting the national economy, as well as funds for higher degree of social justice", added Tevdovski.

The FinMin said this approach would improve the country's economic performances and living standard, accompanied by accountability not luxury in spending taxpayers' money as before.

Tax revenues are projected at MKD 114,8 billion (EUR 1,86 billion), including the expected effect among excise duty of about MKD 1,6 billion (EUR 26 million) as a result of the increase of oil excise duty.

Tevdovski stressed the GDP growth projection stands at 3.2 percent, in line with projections of relevant international and domestic institutions (World Bank, International Monetary Fund, National Bank of RM).

The committee discussion on the 2018 draft-budget is set to last for ten days.

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