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2014 state budget approved

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, December 13
Parliament approved the 2014 state budget on December 11th. Setting revenues at almost 7.32 billion lari and expenditures at 7.22 billion lari, the government plans to issue 600 million treasury bills next year.

400 million lari will be used for covering budgetary expenses and the state debt. 200 million lari will be placed as a deposit in commercial banks for long-term business loans.

According to the government, there will be 5% growth in the Georgian economy next year.

The Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs, the Ministry of Environment Protection, the Ministry for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration and the Ministry for Diaspora Issues will get increased financing compared to 2013. Funding for other ministries has either decreased or remained the same.

Funding of the government’s administration will be 20 million lari. The resident’s administration will receive 9 million lari. Funding for Parliament is approximately 52 million lari.

The president’s reserve fund will be halved to 5 million lari, while the government’s reserve fund will remain unchanged at 50 million lari.

Funding for the judiciary will be increased to cover the planned increase of salaries for judges. Funding for the Constitutional Court will set at 3.3 million lari, for the Supreme Court 6.6 million lari and for the common courts 47.4 million lari.

Funding of the State Statistics Office will significantly increase from 4.5 million lari to 14.6 million lari, most of which will be spent on the 2014 census.

State funding for the Georgian Orthodox Church remains unchanged at 25 million lari.

Minister of Finance Nodar Khaduri stressed that the priorities of the current government remain unchanged: agriculture, healthcare, education. He also stressed that the government will encourage more businesses.

“We have increased financing for the Ministry of Agriculture and banks will begin giving long term credit as well.” Khaduri said.

The United National Movement (UNM) did not take part in the budget decision making process, as they walked out in protest. UNM members have criticized the government for taking a 600 million loan and claim that the current government has failed to stop the economic downturn.

Economic analyst Emzar Jgerenaia claims that the lari has declined in value because the government is running a budgetary deficit. Jgerenaia thinks the economic situation will pick up later in December.

Jgerenaia believes that a new vision is required to improve Georgia’s economy. He believes the government should come up with some concrete plans to improve the situation.

Economic professor Lia Eliava believes that issuing treasury bills is an ineffective method of alleviating the budgetary deficit.

“This means that the economy is going down and the government is obliged to take a loan. In general, the bills are purchased by banks and accordingly, the state becomes a creditor of the banks.” Eliava said.