Ministries ask for 2 billion euros in 2024 budget for 'priority' areas

According to the 2024 state budget preparation schedule, ministries and other central institutions have submitted priority measures for 2024 worth EUR 1.983 billion, representatives of the Ministry of Finance (MoF) informed the LETA newswire.

Of these, independent institutions have submitted measures for EUR 31.8 million, while ministries and other central institutions have submitted measures for almost EUR 1.952 billion.

Finance Minister Arvils Ašeradens (New Unity) said that one of the European Commission's recommendations is to reduce the state budget deficit, so this year sectoral ministries have been more responsible in budget planning and have submitted requests for next year's state budget that are 250 million euros lower than for the 2023 state budget.

Among the requests from ministries, the most significant additional expenditure for next year is planned to be an increase in teachers' salaries, an increase in healthcare spending and an increase in defense spending.

Also important are requests for covering losses in the transportation sector, pay rises for interior affairs workers, education initiatives, as well as additional expenditure for the Rail Baltica project.

The Ministry also notes that the preparation of next year's state budget is on track.

Meanwhile, on August 15, the government is scheduled to consider an informative report on forecasts of macroeconomic indicators, revenues and general government budget balance in 2024, 2025 and 2026, the fiscal risk statement, an informative report on the national budget and the results of the expenditure review for 2024, 2025 and 2026.

It is also foreseen to review an informative report on priority measures for ministries and other central government bodies in 2024, 2025 and 2026 and an informative report on progress in the development of the National Tax Policy Guidelines 2024-2027.

The medium-term macroeconomic scenario for 2023-2026 was developed in June 2023 on the basis of gross domestic product (GDP) data for the first quarter of 2023 as well as short-term macroeconomic information available until June this year.

The fiscal space for the next and subsequent years will be further adjusted by the implementation of the tax guidelines, depending on the measures to be supported and the timetable for their implementation.

According to the budgetary timetable, the package of draft laws for the 2024 budget is expected to be presented to the Parliament on October 12.

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