Saeima approves €8.3m allocation for ambulance crews

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The Saeima on December 6 passed in the final reading amendments to the law on budget and financial management intended to resolve the issues arising from a delayed adoption of the 2019 state budget.

In an unexpected move, the parliament supported opposition MP Vjaceslavs Dombrovskis’ (Harmony) proposal to allocate €8.3 million to the Emergency Medical Service for raising employees’ wages in 2019. The Saeima Budget and Finance (Taxation) Committee had earlier rejected that proposal.

Dombrovskis’ proposal was approved by 53 votes to 28 and four abstentions. Another four lawmakers did not register for the vote.

The Finance Ministry had proposed changing the rules for a temporary budget, namely, scraping the rule that budget expenditure in January may not exceed one-twelfth of the previous budget's expenditure. Instead, the ministry proposes to stipulate that in the absence of the 2019 budget, next year’s budget expenditure cannot exceed the expenditure planned for the respective year in Latvia’s medium-term budget framework.

There are several urgent matters that need to be solved at the beginning of next year - increasing pensions and benefits, teachers' salaries and others - which will require additional funds, therefore the temporary budget will have to be structured differently.

Additional €10.36 million will be necessary to increase pensions and benefits next year, raising teachers' salaries will require €17.58 million, additional €8.87 million is needed to increase judges and prosecutors' salaries, and €16.09 million to ensure overtime pay for healthcare workers.

The amendments to the law on budget and financial management will come into effect on the next day after their promulgation.

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