The Seimas Finance Committee (BFK) reconsiders next year's budget: what does it propose to allocate money to and what not?

On Wednesday, the Seimas Committee on Budget and Finance BFK once again discussed the draft state budget 2024 proposals. The BFK only accepted some of the proposals for which an appropriate funding source was not proposed but provided for the Government to consider those proposals the Committee did not receive.

Euro bills.<br>R.Danisevičius photo.
Euro bills.<br>R.Danisevičius photo.
Daugiau nuotraukų (1)

Ignas Dobrovolskas

Nov 15, 2023, 3:20 PM, atnaujinta Nov 15, 2023, 3:21 PM

7 members of BFK members voted in favour of the Committee's conclusion and 5 against.

The Committee had to vote again on the budget proposals after the opposition raised a question during the plenary session of the Seimas on Tuesday about the inconsistency of the BFK's conclusion with the Statute.

During the meeting, the BFK voted on whether to approve the proposal of the association Lietuvos Keliai to allocate an amount of EUR 217 million more than currently foreseen to the Road Maintenance and Development Programme (KPPP) in the next year's budget, but a majority of the votes decided not to approve the proposal. However, the Committee obliged the Government to consider the possibility of increased funding for the KPPP, as more taxes are expected to be collected next year from fuel excise duty and road vignettes.

Finance Minister Gintarė Skaistė claimed that there is a possibility of collecting around €30 million extra from road vignettes. Meanwhile, Vytautas Mitalas, Deputy Speaker of the Seimas, said that around €37 million could be collected next year from the truck road tax and €113 million more from excise duties.

Most of the money is proposed for research, roads and teachers' salaries

The proposals from MEPs and institutions total over €1.3 billion. The group of members of the Democratic Group In the Name of Lithuania in Parliament proposes an additional €245 million for research and experimental development activities in 2024 – one of the most expensive proposals.

As mentioned, the Lithuanian Roads Association proposes to allocate €217 million more to the KPPP in next year's budget than is currently foreseen.

Finally, the Lithuanian Trade Union of Education Workers proposes to provide additional funds for the salary increase of teachers, researchers and study staff by 15% from 1 January 2024 and a further 15% from 1 September 2024. The proposed source of the funds would be either unused appropriations due to unforeseen circumstances (termination of service contracts, etc.) or borrowed funds. This proposal would require EUR 107 million.

ELTA recalls that the draft budget 2024 presented by the Government foresees that the state's revenue next year will amount to EUR 17.01 billion and expenditure to EUR 20.5 billion. Compared to 2023, budget revenue is expected to grow by €1.46 billion (9.4%) and expenditure by almost €1.5 billion (7.9%).

Government debt is projected at 39.8% in 2024 (38.9% excluding the EU balance and cumulative effects), with a deficit of 2.9% (2.5% excluding temporary measures). In 2025, debt is projected at 43.1% and the deficit at 2.5%.

The Maastricht criteria will apply again next year, so EU countries, including Lithuania, will have to keep their budget deficits below 3% of GDP and their debt below 60%.

Coalition partners, the liberals, are raising questions on the non-formal education basket for children's clubs and more funding for education. Meanwhile, the opposition is unhappy with what it considers to be insufficient funding for road infrastructure.

The education agreement is expected to cost €387 million next year, while the road maintenance and management budget in Lithuania next year is set at €715.3 million.

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