Economy and labour committees debate supplementary budget

Ljubljana – The parliamentary committees for labour and the economy discussed the supplementary budget for 2021 and draft budget for 2022 for their respective fields in separate sessions on Thursday. Both ministries are getting more funds next year than initially planned due to anti-coronavirus measures.

The Economy Ministry is to get EUR 402.7 million next year, EUR 122.5 million than previously planned, with EUR 52.6 million planned for anti-coronavirus measures and EUR 58.8 million for personal protective equipment (PPE).

The funds to boost entrepreneurship and competitiveness will increase by EUR 38.4 million to EUR 174.9 million, while an additional EUR 21.7 million have been earmarked for development projects, increasing the figure for the field to EUR 68.9 million.

However, in 2022 the ministry is to get EUR 289.3 million, EUR 113.4 million less than the year before. State secretary Simon Zajc told the parliamentary Economy Committee that this drop in funds between 2021 and 2022 reflects the fact that less EU funds will be available for PPE in 2022.

While coalition MPs were largely happy with the proposal, the opposition pointed to a planned increase in debt, with Slovenia’s net debt growing by about EUR 10 billion, from EUR 31.7 billion to EUR 42.5 billion, between 2020 and 2022.

The Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities and the Labour Inspectorate are to get EUR 290 million less next year than this, however add to this the funds aiming to mitigate the coronavirus crisis and they will get EUR 123 million more than in 2020.

In total, the ministry and the inspectorate are to get EUR 1.93 billion next year and EUR 1.88 billion in 2022. State secretary Mateja Ribič told the committee that EUR 14 million more than previously planned had been allocated for welfare, as the number of those eligible has increased slightly due to the crisis.

The government has also increased funds for personal assistance services, allocating some EUR 10 million more in 2021 and additional EUR 17 million in 2022. Parental leave funds have been increased by EUR 22 million next year and EUR 25 million in 2022.

Meanwhile, unemployment compensation funds will drop after layoffs increased this year and is expected to drop in the next two years.

The opposition Left said that the budgets lacked the funds for the planned construction of new retirement homes, with the Social Democrats (SD) expressing scepticism that the government was indeed serious in its plans to build new homes.

Ribič said that the government will try to get the funds for the construction of the planned five new homes from the EU. However, if this fails, EUR 12.5 million will be made available in the course of the next two years.