In case of budget consolidation, security, education, health and national competitiveness must not suffer - president

  • 2024-05-02
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - If the so-called budget consolidation measures have to be implemented due to disappointing financial indicators, the most important thing is that internal and external security, education, the country's competitiveness and healthcare do not suffer, Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics said in an interview with commercial TV3.

He said that if the country's financial plans were not being met and the economic situation made it necessary to tighten budget belts, then this could be done this year and next year, but the most important thing was that the priority areas mentioned above should not suffer.

At the same time, he admitted that he did not know how to objectively survey the whole field, so that the one who shouts the loudest does not get more money. Rinkevics believes that finding this balance is the competence of the minister in charge of each sector, while the president is aware that it is not easy. "I know that you can never give everything to everybody, but you have to try to understand at least in some sort of planned way that there are some things that have to be done and then, of course, come some very new, beautiful, good things," Rinkevics said.

Rinkevics pointed to the promotion of lending and the reduction of bureaucracy as recommendations to attract investment more successfully, stressing that the latter does not require a large financial investment at all.

The government's budget deficit is set to rise significantly this year to 2.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), close to the Maastricht limit of 3 percent of GDP, according to the draft Stability Program for Latvia 2024-2028 prepared by the Finance Ministry and approved by the cabinet on Tuesday.

The ministry's current forecasts suggest that no significant cost-cutting measures will be needed, but it should be kept in mind that additional spending in next year's state budget will only be possible if additional sources of funding can be found.