Budget in the bag after Saeima approval

Latvia's spending plans for 2018 were rubber-stamped by Saeima November 23 after lengthy debate.

Passing of the budget was more orderly than in some previous years with deputies largely rejecting proposals for additional funding and amendments that have sometimes led to extremely long-drawn-out sessions.

The budget bundle includes 30 different draft laws. The largest increase in funding, of 235 million euros - is in the health sector. Meanwhile national defense will receive an additional 126.8 million euros, bringing it up to the NATO recommended minimum spend of 2% of GDP at last.

Public Consolidated Budget Revenues in 2018 are planned to be 8.75 billion euros, while expenditure will 8.95 billion. Consequently Tte deficit is planned at 1% of the country's gross domestic product.

From next year, the value added tax (VAT) rate for Latvian fruit and vegetables will decrease from the current 21% to 5%. According to the estimates of the Ministry of Agriculture, the change will reduce the prices of fruits, berries and vegetables by 3% -12%.

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