RIGA - Saeima today forwarded to committees the 2019 state budget bill package.
Besides the budget bill, the package also includes fifteen accompanying legislative documents. Saeima is planning to pass the budget bill in the first reading on March 20 and in the final reading on April 3. If budget debates take longer than planned, Saeima will also convene for an extraordinary meeting on April 4.
Saeima Budget and Finance Committee is responsible for the budget bill, but it will also be reviewed by all other Saeima committees.
As reported, this year revenue in the government consolidated budget is planned at EUR 9.2 billion and expenditure at EUR 9.4 billion. In the government basic budget, revenue is planned at EUR 6.4 billion and expenditure at EUR 6.8 billion. In the government special budget, revenue is planned at EUR 3 billion and expenditure at EUR 2.8 billion.
In 2019, the general government consolidated budget is expected to run a deficit of 0.5 percent of GDP. Latvia’s GDP, meanwhile, is projected to grow 3 percent this year.
Representatives of the Finance Ministry indicated that as a result of a revision of this year’s budget expenditure, EUR 51.3 million would be saved in the 2019 budget, of which EUR 7.6 million would be used to improve the fiscal space and EUR 43.7 have been earmarked for ministries’ priorities.
In this year’s budget, EUR 87.5 million have been allocated for raising medics’ wages, EUR 8.9 and million for raising salaries to judges and court employees.
EUR 7.2 million have been earmarked for measures aimed at combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
EUR 3 million will be spent enhancing the work of independent institutions like public media, the Ombudsman’s Office, the State Audit Office and others, and EUR 2.6 million will be provided to activities intended to support the Latvian diaspora in foreign countries.
Latvia’s defense funding will grow by EUR 60.3 million from last year, also in order to maintain defense spending at 2 percent of GDP.
This year, local governments will receive 19.4 percent of Latvia’s total tax revenue.