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2015 state budget approved

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, December 15
With 82 votes Parliament approved the 2015 state budget, which sets revenues at GEL 8.09 billion and spending at GEL 8 billion. The opposition parties – The United National Movement (UNM) and the Free Democrats did not support the bill, describing it as “not oriented towards growth.”

The budget sets tax revenues at GEL 7.6 billion next year, up by GEL 780 million from this year’s target. UNM lawmakers said it’s not realistic to meet this target next year.

Revenues from value-added tax are set at GEL 3.529 billion in 2015, up from GEL 3.27 billion this year; personal income tax target is set at GEL 2.085 billion, up from 2014 target of GEL 1.77 billion; revenues from corporate profit tax – GEL 900 million, down from 2014 target of GEL 912 million, and revenues from excise tax are expected at GEL 947 million, up from GEL 739 million this year.

The government’s forecast for GDP growth in 2015 stands at 5%, the same as in 2014.

2015 budget sets revenues from foreign grants at GEL 215 million.

“Social and healthcare funding remain the priority,” Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri said.

Funding of the Healthcare Ministry will be increased by GEL 127 million to GEL 2.78 billion next year.

GEL 1.39 billion of that funding, or 17.3% of total budgetary spending next year, is allocated for covering pensions.

Starting from September 1, 2015, monthly minimum pensions will increase for all categories of pensioners by GEL 10 to GEL 160.

The government’s debt-to-GDP ratio is set at 37.2% in 2015.

A breakdown of funding per ministry in 2015 budget is as follows:
Ministry of Healthcare and Social Protection – GEL 2.78 billion (GEL 2.65 billion was allocated for the ministry in 2014)
Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure – GEL 1 billion (2014 – GEL 875 million)
Defense Ministry – GEL 640 million, which has been decreased compared to previous years.
Interior Ministry – GEL 638 million
Ministry of Education and Science – GEL 853.9 million
Ministry of Agriculture - GEL 292.9 million
Finance Ministry – GEL 100 million
Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development – GEL 120 million
Ministry of Energy – GEL 125 million
Justice Ministry – GEL 68.5 million
Prison system ministry – GEL 155 million
Foreign Ministry - GEL 100 million
Ministry of Culture and Protection of Monuments – GEL 95 million
Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs – GEL 70 million
Ministry of Environment Protection – GEL 39 million
Ministry for IDPs from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees – GEL 70 million
State Ministry for Reconciliation and Civic Equality Office of the State Minister for Reintegration – GEL 1.35 million
State Ministry for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration – GEL 3.1 million
State Ministry for Diaspora Issues – GEL 1.2 million (2014 – GEL 900,000)

Minister Khaduri claimed that the budget was balanced and stated that the government will support private sector development in 2015. Majority member Davit Saganelidze recognized that the budget was not something to be proud of, but he suggested that the budget reflected all necessary demands.

Member of parliamentary minority Zurab Japaridze stated that the budget was sacrificed for deficit.