24th November 2022, Skopje – 2023 Budget deficit is realistic, taking into account the ongoing developments triggered by the energy and price crisis, the efforts aimed at recovery and economic growth acceleration, as well as the need to service the assumed liabilities and the respective interests, Minister of Finance, Fatmir Besimi, pointed out during the debate held at the Financing and Budget Parliamentary Commission.
“When discussing the Budget, the reality should be taken into consideration. The Budget deficit is not additionally expanded. If there was no crisis, the deficit would have been lower by EUR 250 million, which funds were projected for the measures aimed thereon. EUR 250 million was intended for Corridor 8 thus contributing to the country’s development, and if it were not for the interests from the accumulated debts, amounting to EUR 210 million, there would have been no deficit”, Minister Besimi said, thereby adding that this Budget is designed in line with the golden rule of government spending, i.e. capital investments are projected to be higher than the deficit.
According to the Minister, what is noteworthy and what makes this deficit different from the previous one is that it is lower than capital investments.
“Capital investments are projected in the amount of Denar 48.9 billion. Capital expenditures projected for 2023, account for 5.3% of GDP, being higher by 52.3% compared to the 2022 projections. They are intended for intensification of the implementation of infrastructure projects, i.e. investments in road and railway infrastructure, energy and utilities infrastructure, as well as capital investments aimed at improving the conditions in the health, education and social systems, agriculture, culture, sports, environmental protection and judiciary, Minister Besimi said, thereby adding that substantial funds in the amount of Denar 15 billion are intended for Corridor 8, road sections Tetovo – Gostivar, construction of new highway Trebenishta – Struga – Kjafasan, construction of Gostivar – Bukojchani section and Corridor 10 d, Prilep – Bitola section.
Minister stressed that another aspect making this deficit distinct is the manner of providing the funds, as well as the strategy applied therefor.
“The funds for anti-crisis measures as support for the citizens and the business sector, all to the end of cushioning the impact from the energy and the price crisis, had to be provided. The only sticky question is whether this could have been done with higher taxes, more cuts or expensive borrowing. We opted for making cuts as foreseen under the Supplementary Budget, as well as by financing via instruments, which were cheaper than those on the classical financial markets”, Minister said.
He went on that the 2023 Budget ensures regular servicing of liabilities deriving from the policies and measures foreseen thereunder, as well as debt repayment.
“Public finance management is a particular challenge amid turbulent economic environment in Europe, however, we remain committed to the planned fiscal consolidation, improving the public finance management, as well as redesigning their structure,” Minister of Finance stressed.
Debate about the Draft Budget in the Financing and Budget Commission as per the Parliament’s Rules of Procedure, lasts for maximum 10 days. Members of the parliament submitted 263 amendments to the draft text.