The Slovenia Times

Govt approves budget deal for 2019


The changes are needed because of the additional costs envisaged for next year. The government will also need to prepare a supplementary budget for 2019. "It (the supplementary budget) will be discussed next year, but talks will start now," Prime Minister Marjan Šarec said after the session.

The costs for next year rose following an agreement with municipalities on higher funding, which will cost an additional EUR 32.5m, and a pensions raise in the autumn, which will cost EUR 7m.

The budget expenditure will rise by another EUR 6m because of the setting up of a new budget fund promoting the development of NGOs.

The government also endorsed today the proposal drawn up by Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj under which EUR 140m would be allocated for the annual bonus for pensioners, which means additional EUR 18m in cost for the state.

The proposal was endorsed unanimously although the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) had demanded that the government fully honour the commitments from the coalition agreement regarding pensioners, which would cost EUR 178m.

Šarec stressed today the amount of money available was limited. "I personally believe that people deserve a decent living, but ministries will need to work hard and prepare certain structural measures," he said.

Commenting on the tensions between the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) and the SAB over their demands concerning pensioners, he said that all members of the government must work for the benefit of all social groups and that it made no sense to claim that just one party advocates for pensioners.

The government also included an additional indexation of pensions in the budget act. Next to the regular 2.8% pension raise, the pensions will also increase by 1.5% next year. "The measure will step into force in December 2019 and will cost EUR 7m," Bertoncelj said.

To balance the budget, the government plans to cut budget spending by EUR 80m. Some EUR 16m are to be saved by leaving transfers to individuals and households level in 2019 and another EUR 5m by not adjusting the wage criteria for eligibility for social transfers. "We're not taking anything away here, these things will only increase by the inflation rate," the minister said.

Another EUR 60m should be saved by keeping restrictions on the paying out of bonuses for increased workload to public sector employees.

Commenting on the talks on the supplementary budget, Bertoncelj said they would be challenging. "We will have to find quite a lot of reserves," he said, adding that the government planned to endorse a supplementary budget proposal as soon as possible in the first quarter of 2019.

The National Assembly passed the 2019 budget act in November 2017 but the government decided to delay revising it due to a series of outstanding issues, most notably public sector pay negotiations and the abolishment of austerity measures planned for next year.


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