Parliament endorsed on June 17 amendments to the 2010 state budget envisaging increase of expenditures by GEL 230 million.
Finance Minister Kakha Baindurashvili told lawmakers before the vote that amendments were made possible because of “surplus in tax revenues” – GEL 150 million and expected grants from the international organizations, mainly from the EU.
The government has also revised economic growth forecast from initially planned 2% to 4.5% in 2010.
Baindurashvili said that as a result of the amendments budget deficit will decrease to 6.5% from initial 7.3%. In 2009 the budget deficit was 9.2%.
“Our goal is to decrease the budgetary deficit to 3% by 2013,” the Finance Minister said.
The parliamentary minority group has criticized the authorities for non-transparent spending from the government’s and the president’s reserve funds. These are special funds, which should be used for emergency spending, like in case of disasters or covering some urgent expenses which were not pre-planned while drafting the budget.
The parliamentary minority in particular criticized the government for not indicating in explanatory note of the draft of amendments that part of revenues goes to president’s and government’s reserve funds and requested explanation from the Finance Minister. The latter confirmed that part of increased expenditures - he did not specify how much - would be allocated in the president’s and government’s reserve funds, because money from those funds had already been spent.
In the 2010 state budget the president’s and government’s reserve funds were GEL 25 million each instead of GEL 50 million for each in 2009.
According to the passed amendments to the state budget, GEL 25 million will be allocated for housing program for internally displaced persons, GEL 6.5 million - for their allowances, GEL 2.6 million – for rehabilitation of their facilities and GEL 3.4 - for covering their utility tariffs.
GEL 9.4 will be allocated for rehabilitation and construction of facilities in penitentiary system.
GEL 11 million will be allocated for rehabilitation of water supply systems in the regions, while GEL 9 million will be used in response to the consequences of the earthquake in Racha last September.
About GEL 25 is envisaged for tourism and road infrastructure development projects.
GEL 20 million will be allocated for co-funding of construction of high-voltage power transmission line.
GEL 2.6 million will be spent to purchase the building for Georgian embassy in Germany.
The budget will allocate additional GEL 2 million for initial stage of reconstruction of Bagrati Cathedral in Kutaisi.