Latvian government earmarks 192 million euros for 'priority measures'

At an extraordinary meeting on Friday, the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers decided to allocate a total of 192 million euros for the "priority measures" of ministries and independent institutions next year, reported LTV and Latvian Radio.

167 million euros is earmarked for ministries' priorities  while another 25 million euros is foreseen for independent institutions. The main recipients will be the healthcare and education sectors. An image released by the Cabinet Office to accompany details of the allocations (see above) identified the wages of teachers, medics, interior ministry workers such as border guards and prison warders and cultural workers as priority areas.

  • € 50 million for the Ministry of Health priorities , including 43 million for medical salaries. The Ministry of Health had demanded more than EUR 120 million
  • € 8 million and another € 23 million euros for the priorities of the Ministry of Education and Science to increase the minimum monthly salary rate for teachers from 1 September 2019 to 750 euros.
  • € 32 million to raise the maximum differentiated personal income tax (CIT) minimum to € 300 per month and to raise the ceiling to € 500 per month.
  • € 18.9 million for Ministry of Interior priorities. 
  • € 13 million for Ministry of Culture priorities.
  • € 10 million for the Ministry of Welfare's priorities, including to raise the minimum income level.
  • € 7.9 million for Ministry of Transport priorities, including roads.
  • € 7 million to various ministries to address demographic issues.
  • € 3 million for Foreign Ministry priorities.
  • € 1.1 million for the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development to implement regional reform.
  • € 1 million for unforeseen events.
  • € 0.9 million for the priorities of the Ministry of Finance.
  • € 0.9 million for the priorities of the State Chancellery.

The 25 million euros to be given to independent institutions breaks down as follows:

  • € 10 million for anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing activities (following the recommendations of the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, "Moneyval").
  • € 6.3 million for Latvian public media (which includes LSM).
  • € 5 million for a new model for financing political parties.
  • EUR 0.9 million for the Constitutional Court.
  • EUR 0.7 million for the Office of the President.
  • EUR 0.6 million to the KNAB anti-corruption bureau.
  • EUR 0.6 million for the Central Election Commission.
  • EUR 0.5 million for the National Audit Office.
  • EUR 0.4 million for the Constitution Protection Bureau.
  • EUR 0.4 million for the Prosecutor General's Office.
  • EUR 0.1 million for the Ombudsman's Office.
  • EUR 0.1 million for the Supreme Court.

Budget discussions in the government will continue next week, when ministries have calculated exactly how much extra money each priority will need. The government is aiming to have the budget passed by the November 18 national holiday, after being urged to do so by President Egils Levits. 

In deciding how to allocate money, Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš stressed that next year's budget should be considered socially responsible and did not involve levying any new taxes on people.

"The process has not been easy, but five parties have agreed," Kariņš added.

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