At the session held yesterday, the government approved the draft law on the budget of Montenegro for 2023. As stated, the budget is projected at EUR 2.852 billion and represents a realistic and sustainable framework that will enable the preservation of the standard of living of citizens, the achievement of sustainable economic growth and the provision of orderly, sustainable and timely financing of all obligations.
– The budget was planned cautiously and responsibly, taking into account all challenges on the internal, but also on the geopolitical level. Budget expenditures are planned in the amount of EUR 2.852 billion and compared to the previous year they are higher by RUR 165.62 million or 6.2% – the Government announced.
One of the key features of the budget is, allegedly, that transfers for social protection are planned in the amount of EUR 785 million, that is, 34% of the total budget expenditures, which represents a historical maximum.
– For the needs of rights in the field of social protection, additional funds in the amount of EUR 45 million are planned. Of this, the most is planned for children’s allowances – 23.01 million, for other rights in the field of social protection EUR 13.61 million is planned, as well as the amount of seven million intended for benefits for newborn children – it was clarified.
Additional funds of EUR 35 million are planned to increase pensions, according to regular adjustment and the expected trend in the number of pensioners. The plan is that, by the end of next year, the minimum pension will reach the level of 60% of the minimum wage.
– Due to the need to reduce inflationary pressures on the standard of living of employees in the public sector, a salary increase in the total amount of EUR 67 million is planned – the Government stated.
The healthcare sector has a significant share in the level of public spending and accounts for EUR 402 million, or 14% of total public spending.
– In relation to 2022, the allocations are nominally at the same level, but the available funds have increased in real terms, bearing in mind that the budget rebalancing in September of this year allocated additional funds to the Health Care Fund in the amount of 65 million, which were mainly related to repayment of accumulated debts of the Fund, that is, public health institutions – they explained.
They add that additional funds for the construction and reconstruction of healthcare facilities in the amount of EUR 4 million have been allocated within the above amount.
– In addition to the above, the budget law creates the assumptions of providing additional funds for the financing of the project of construction and reconstruction and equipping of health institutions in Montenegro in the amount of an additional 55 million EUR – the announcement reads.
Total funds in the amount of 63 million EUR have been allocated to the sector of agriculture, forestry and water management, which represents an increase of 6 million compared to 2022, and this mainly refers to the increase in subsidies.
– In addition to the above, within the current budget reserve, additional funds are available for this sector in the amount of 6.5 million EUR, of which 5 million for the needs of introducing new agricultural areas into the registers, as well as 1.5 million additional funds for market measures price policy – said the Government.
Among other things, in the discussion, as one of the key features of the budget, it was emphasized that the allocation of 2% of GDP for the needs of defense development was reached for the first time, “which represents the best confirmation of the Euro-Atlantic determination of this Government”.
The capital budget, as a key development component, amounts to EUR 202.6 million, which, if the funds allocated in the current year for the realization of the project of the priority section of the highway are excluded, represents an increase of EUR 35 million for other projects. These funds are earmarked for the realization of 294 capital projects.
– Taking into account the projected revenues in 2023, as well as the planned expenditures, it is expected that the budget spending deficit will be realized in the amount of 5.9% of GDP, i.e. EUR 366 million. Since the planned repayment of the debt in 2023 amounts to 338 million, it is expected that the missing funds for the next year will amount to 705 million EUR – they say from the Government.
The session also adopted a proposal for a decision on the borrowing of Montenegro for the next year, which stipulates that the state will use deposits and funds from existing credit arrangements concluded in an earlier period, as well as funds from new debt, to finance the missing funds.
– In 2023, the state can borrow up to EUR 600 million for the purpose of providing the missing funds and creating a fiscal reserve, which will depend on the fiscal reserve that will be provided in the current year – it was clarified, local media writes.