Skopje, 24th December 2012 (MIA) – Today, on its 49th session, Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia adopted 2013 Budget with 65 “yes” votes, four “no” votes and one abstention.
As Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Zoran Stavreski, said, primary goal of 2013 Budget was to protect citizens’ social stability and to underpin economic growth with capital investments.
He added that total budget projected growth at almost all sector, most notably in the health sector (13%) and social protection (10%).
– To the end of protecting Macedonian citizens, 5% increase of pensions is envisaged, starting with March payment of pensions which, together with the pension indexation of 2%, totals 7% increase of pensions, being of significance under the present circumstances. Second most vulnerable category of social welfare beneficiaries will be allocated 5% increase under the new Budget, which will also be realized with the March payment. Funds are also projected for increase of agricultural subsidies, which in 2013 will amount to EUR 135 million, the Minister underlined.
The Budget also envisages a record level of capital investments, being by 10% higher than this year, and it is planned for realization of several major infrastructure projects to commence, which, as Stavreski said, will contribute to improvement of the Macedonian economy, as well as to better economic performance under such circumstances.
– With 2013 Budget, Republic of Macedonia will remain to be among the four least indebted countries in Europe with moderate level of public debt and government debt, improving the international rating of the country and contributing to higher level of investments, the Minister said.
GDP growth next year is projected at 2%, which, as the Minister underlined, is mainly based on the expected positive effects of the foreign direct investments and the capital investments in the Budget.
Session was attended by opposition MPs, who did not allow for their colleagues from the ruling majority to enter the plenary hall for several hours, whereby incident occurred, in which the President of the Parliament Trajko Veljanovski was attacked.
MPs of the ruling party still managed to enter, while the opposition abandoned the hall.
Today’s session was preceded by protests outside the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia – group of people wanted to voice their revolt against opposition’s attempt to block the Budget adoption, while the others demonstrated their support to the opposition as regards Budget adoption.
Amended Draft Budget was submitted yesterday by the Government in the Parliament following the unproductive debate about the Budget, lasting more than a month. Opposition submitted more than 1200 amendments, conditioning the Budget adoption, by reducing the costs by EUR 204 million.
Ruling party agreed to accept some of the amendments so as to unblock the Budget, which was rejected by the Opposition. According to the ruling majority, the Budget should be adopted, since its blocking jeopardizes the payment of pensions, social benefits, pensions, agricultural subsidies, salaries of public administration, as well as the realization of Government projects.