Skopje, 16th October 2014 (MIA) – Protecting the living standard of the citizens through the envisaged increase of public administration salaries, pensions, and social benefits, as well as more funds for capital projects are the main goals of the 2015 Budget. Discussion about the modified Draft Budget started today in the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia.

– Social dimension is one of the Budget’s pillars.  We have taken care to provide sufficient funds f for many years now so as to make payments on the basis of exercising the legal rights and we have constantly increased subsidies, and the salaries, pensions and social benefits in certain years, all this contributing to preserving the living standard of the citizens.  This policy will continue to be conducted next year as well, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance said, explaining the 2015 modified Draft Budget before the MPs in the Parliament.

He stressed that funds for higher salaries, pensions and social benefits are envisaged in the Budget. – Salary increase will last throughout the year since it will start as of this one.  In July next year, social benefits will be increased by 5%, while in October next year, pensions will be higher by 5%, Minister said, adding that this was continuation of the policy for protecting the living standard of the pensioners and the beneficiaries of social welfare.  

Denar 82,645 million for social transfers has been envisaged in the Budget, Denar 45,570 out of which for pensions.  Minsiter pointed out that 301,660 pensioners will receive pensions higher by 5% as of October.  Timely and regular payment of social rights and increase of social welfare by 5% as of July, is envisaged.

Due to the increase in pensions, social benefits and salaries, and the envisaged funds for health services, the current expenditures for next year are by 4% higher than the ones in 2014.  At the same time, the Government will resume with the restrictive policy at goods and services.

The funds  for agricultural subsidies allocated from the Budget, amounting to EUR 140 million, are aimed at supporting the living standard of the farmers.  

As a result of the high level of capital investments, the support of the business sector continues, as well as the generation of higher economic growth rates.  According to the Deputy Prime Minister, this has proven to be a sound policy so far, being also confirmed by the IMF and the World Bank.

– 2015 Budget envisages more funds for capital investments in order to engage, by realizing infrastructure projects, both the construction sector and the industry, which will generate higher growth rates on the short run, as well as boosted competitiveness of the economy on the long run, Stavreski pointed out.

Denar 21.208 billion for capital projects are envisaged to be set aside from the Budget, however the Minister pointes out that, if ones add the funds envisaged for the Public Enterprise for State Roads in the amount of Denar 11.651 billion, the total amount will be Denar 32.859 billion.  

Construction of Corridor 10 will be intensified, for which Denar 3 billion has been envisaged, the realization of the motorways Miladinovci-Stip and Kicevo-Ohrid will continue as well, and additional funds for road reconstruction will be provided from the World Bank.  Denar 1.311 billion has been envisaged for railway infrastructure, Denar 553 million for TIDZ, as well as over Denar 2 billion intended for education, child protection and sport.

Total revenues of the Draft Budget amount to Denar 163.280 billion, the expenditures are projected at Denar 181.777 billion, and the Deficit amounts to Denar 18.497 billion or 3.5% of GDP.

Economy growth is projected at 4%, and inflation is projected at up to 2%.

Debate about the Budget should end in five days according to the Parliament’s Rules of Procedure.

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