The Slovenia Times

Amended Budget for 2013 Passed in the Parliament


The document envisages only a minimal change in total spending, which will rise by EUR 10.5m to EUR 9.6bn. Meanwhile, the deficit is set to increase due to lower-than-planned revenue, which has been slashed by EUR 527m to EUR 8.1bn in the document as a result of faltering tax receipts.

Instead, the amended budget extensively redistributes funding to help finance the costs of Slovenia's borrowing, bank recapitalisation, the public sector and pensions.

In order to avoid an increase in total spending, the government has proposed cuts in certain investments. All ministries bar the Finance Ministry and Interior Ministry have taken on various cuts.

The most affected are agriculture and the environment, and infrastructure and spatial planning (EUR 80m each), economic development and technology (EUR 62m), justice (EUR 60m), health (EUR 21m) and foreign affairs (EUR 11m).

Meanwhile, the supplementary budget will ensure an additional EUR 114m for pensions and another EUR 122m to repay debt. The costs of bank recapitalisation have been set at EUR 1.2bn. The supplementary budget also increases funds for public sector employees pay and for public institutions.

Government officials have labelled the proposal as a compromise, saying that a supplementary budget is needed to fix unrealistic planning in the original budget adopted by the previous government in the autumn of last year but not with excessive austerity which could further slow the already sputtering the economy.

They have placed a EUR 1.5bn cap on the deficit, which represents 4.4% of GDP, while highlighting that at EUR 1.1bn the deficit had exceeded the figure planned in the original budget already in the first five months of the year.

Finance Minister Uroš Čufer told MPs in Wednesday's debate that the document was based on three objectives: public finance consolidation, bailout of banks and prudent withdrawal of the state from the economy.

Far from being won over by proposal, the opposition was critical of the government's failure to find additional savings by reducing costs in the public sector.

Moreover, opposition MPs argued in Wednesday's marathon debate that a large share of the cuts proposed by the government at ministries would affect investments, the most sensitive part of spending for the economy.

The opposition has also criticised the revised plan for revenue from EU funds, which has been reduced by EUR 258m to EUR 1.186bn. "This is bad, because there will be no investment momentum which would create new jobs," Democrats (SDS) MP Andrej Vizjak said on Wednesday.

But government officials have pointed out that the EUR 1.45bn initially planned to be drawn from the EU was overly optimistic, given that Slovenia had in the first five months of the year secured around a quarter of that figure and that the total funds drawn last year were below EUR 800m.


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