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Tuesday, 21.02.2017, 22:57
Latvian Saeima approves of budget amendments in principle
All proposals must be submitted by August 24. The amendments will be reviewed by the parliament in the second reading on September 13, writes LETA.
Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity), addressing the parliament today, urged members to support the amendments and heed the lessons of the recent crisis. "During the time when Latvia's economy recovers, tax proceeds grow and additional funds appear in the State Treasury, I urge you not to succumb to euphoria and the temptation of the years of abundance to step on the gas," said the prime minister.
He emphasized that fiscal discipline should become a common practice in Latvia, since the inability to deal with the budget reflects in the state's credit ratings and price of money immediately. Thus financial stability and strict fiscal discipline are the preconditions of economic growth.
Finance Minister Andris Vilks (Unity) also stressed that it is highly important to implement strict fiscal and anti-cyclical policies.
Vilks explained that the state budget is not balanced. Therefore additional funds must be allotted to certain priorities. At the same time, the minister pointed out that there is still much to do in health care, regional development, business competitiveness and all efforts must be dedicated to ensure the efficiency of these and other sector policies.
The amendments stipulate that the largest sum will be allotted to the Transport Ministry – LVL 20.6 million – and channeled to road maintenance and renovation, especially in Latgale Province, as well as a subsidy to public transportation providers.
The Health Ministry will receive LVL 19.5 million, allotted for such measures as implementing the mother and child health improvement plan in 2012-2014, reducing medical care queues, ensuring diagnostic and lab tests, specialist consultations, etc.
The Culture Ministry will receive LVL 5.1 million to provide local governments with the required funds in order to ensure successful organization of the Song and Dance Festival, stabilize the economic activities of the Latvian National Opera, reconstruct the opera's stage, purchase new musical instruments, sound and lighting equipment, costumes for theaters, orchestras and choirs.
The Welfare Ministry will be allocated LVL 3.9 million to ensure pensions to the politically persecuted, social insurance benefits and benefits to celiac disease patients.
The Agriculture Ministry will be allotted LVL 2.3 million for state support in agriculture, the Foreign Ministry – LVL 402,000 to implement Latvia's foreign policy interests, the Interior Ministry – LVL 3.9 million to ensure the operations of the Security Police, the Education and Science Ministry – LVL 3.2 million to be paid in bonuses to top-level athletes and coaches for outstanding achievements in sports, and for other events promoting sports.