19th December 2022, Skopje – Protecting the living standard of citizens, ensuring a better-quality life and conditions for economic recovery, coupled by fiscal consolidation and better control of spending, are the goals under the policies and the measures incorporated in the 2023 Amended Draft Budget, put on the agenda in the Parliament of the Republic of North Macedonia, as of today.
Minister of Finance, Fatmir Besimi, elaborating the Amended Draft Budget before the MPs, assessed that the 2023 Draft Budget is realistic, thereby setting the priorities and appropriately allocating the citizens’ funds.
“The 2023 Draft Budget covers four goals, such as mitigating the consequences of the energy crisis, ensuring smooth financing of EU integration process, meeting NATO standards, as well as laying foundation for economic recovery and ensuring acceleration of the economic growth. This Draft Budget is designed to fulfill the commitment to fiscal consolidation and ensuring fiscal sustainability, while not adversely affecting the economic activity,” Besimi pointed out.
He stated that the public finance management is a particular challenge in times of turbulent economic environment in Europe, mentioning once again the anti-crisis measures adopted by the Government, which provided for mitigating the high increase in food and fuel prices, providing support for vulnerable categories of citizens and companies, while carrying out activities focused on encouraging the energy efficiency. In times of global energy crisis, as well as rapid increase of prices of energy products, Minister stressed that that tax policy in 2023 will continue to be in support of the stabilization of their prices on the market in our country. Approximately Denar 14 billion is projected for further protection of the citizens and the business sector in 2023.
What makes this Draft Budget peculiar is improved public finance management, which will be attained by redesigning their structure, increased share of capital expenditures, investments intended for boosted competitiveness, digitalization, support for the private sector and improvement of the investment climate, while making cuts on the non-priority and non-essential expenditures.
“2023 Draft Budget is in line with the gold rule in public finance: higher capital expenditures than the budget deficit, i.e. borrowing will be made only for the purpose of financing the investment projects. The Budget will be guided by the value for money principle, while care will be taken to ensure that the citizens’ money will be geared towards generating greater benefits in attaining the goals for higher quality of life”, Minister underlined.
Capital investments in 2023 are projected in the amount of around Denar 48.8 billion or by approximately 51.8% higher compared to the 2022 projections, being intended for intensifying the infrastructure project implementation, i.e. investments in the road and the railway infrastructure, energy and utility infrastructure, as well as capital investments for improving the conditions in the health, educational and social systems, agriculture, culture, sports, environment protection and judiciary.
2023 Draft Budget provides for regular payment of wages to the public sector employees, timely and regular payment of pensions, guaranteed minimum income and other social rights, payment of agricultural subsidies, support to small- and medium-sized enterprises, support and subsidizing of innovation activities, as well as support to the energy sector. Denar 276.1 billion are projected under the Amended Draft Budget. Funds for goods and services amount to Denar 23.6 billion as in 2022, providing for financing the increased energy and transport costs and smooth functioning of the institutions. Denar 144.9 billion is projected as social transfers, i.e. payment of pensions amounting to Denar 75 billion, social protection allowances amounting to Denar 12.7 billion, Denar 42.1 billion as health protection, Denar 26.7 billion as transfers to local government units, increasing by Denar 1.2 billion. Denar 370 million under the amended Draft Budget are also provided for subsidized students’ meals for the academic 2022-2023.
2023 Budget amounts to Denar 324.8 billion, revenues are projected in the amount of Denar 282.1 billion, being higher by 14.8% compared to 2022, with the deficit being projected at 4.6% of the projected GDP or Denar 42.7 billion, which will be financed from domestic and foreign sources. In 2023, economic growth is projected at 2.9%, with inflation being projected at 7.1%.
As per the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament of the Republic of North Macedonia, the debate upon the Amended Draft Budget, at a plenary session, lasts for five days at the most.