The Slovenia Times

Supplementary budget for 2019 confirmed, surplus at 0.4% of GDP


The revised budget projects revenue at EUR 10.35bn, up EUR 463m from initial plans. Expenditure is to amount to EUR 10.16bn, a EUR 599m increase compared to the original budget adopted in late-2017 as part of the two-year budgeting process.

The budget was slated for an overhaul in any case, with the government announcing multiple additional measures that the government has announced in recent months, such as higher municipality funding, higher pensions and higher public sector pay.

Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj, who was still announcing a 0.3% of GDP surplus for the 2019 budget in December, told the press that the government had shown concern for vulnerable groups "while the budget is at the same time balanced and with a surplus".

"Our house stands on firm foundations," the minister said, adding the government continued with fiscal consolidation, with a surplus already recorded in 2018.

"A portion of the surplus went for social categories, a part for pensions, while we also put something on the side for bad times."

While the Fiscal Council had recommended creating larger reserves, the minister said this would have impacted the most vulnerable population groups.

The government also opted for a substantial increase in funding for education and sport, with the budget being the country's first ever to allocate more than EUR 200m for science.

Funds for research, which have been growing steadily since plummeting in 2015 to 0.44% of GDP as result of austerity, are being increased by over EUR 20m, or by 13.7% compared to the original plan.

The move was hailed by the Education, Science and Sports Ministry, which however also warned that Slovenia was still far removed from getting to the 1% of GDP target for research spending and that systemic changes would be necessary as well.

Meanwhile, Bertoncelj also noted a decrease in the costs of servicing public debt "to around EUR 800m, which is an important achievement". He added that three, four years ago, debt was still costing Slovenia around EUR 1bn a year.

The minister labelled the budget as development-oriented as well, with the government wishing "to secure a stable and predictable business environment.

The budget includes a number of development projects, which are not infrastructural exclusively and promote the development of regions and connections between them, Bertoncelj said.


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