MINSK, 23 December (BelTA) – Following the meeting hosted by Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko on 23 December, Finance Minister Yuri Seliverstov told journalists about the execution of the central budget in 2022, BelTA has learned.
The finance minister emphasized that by and large things are going on as planned. Of course, there is some tension given the loss of some planned budget receipts, including due to the sanctions, but at the same time, this tension is not overwhelming. “There are certain issues translating into a certain deficit, and the amount of deficit is determined by law. We cannot say that everything is proceeding smoothly, without problems. Yet, these problems are manageable,” he said.
A testimony to the stable execution of the budget is timely payment of salaries to public sector employees, as well as pensions, and so on. More than that, there are plans to increase them. “Pension benefits have been revised upwards several times this year. Pensions are growing faster than inflation. Capital expenditures are being funded. It is true, there are difficulties, but they are manageable. Every country faces certain challenges every now and then. But the difficulties we are facing now are not big enough to prevent us from financing what we have planned to finance. More than that, we still hope to increase spending and to complete certain things ahead of schedule,” Yuri Seliverstov said.
When asked whether the increase in salaries and pensions would affect the budget execution and the financing of some large-scale projects, the minister replied: “If you meant to ask whether we had to cut spending in other areas in order to increase salaries, I would answer: no, we didn't have to.” However, budget spending on salaries will be higher than planned, since a number of decisions were made during the year to increase salaries for certain types of workers. For example, after the end of the pandemic, COVID bonuses were transformed into other types of bonuses, which required an extra half a billion rubles. In addition to that, in September, salaries for preschool teachers were increased.
The central budget will retain its social focus in 2023, Yuri Seliverstov emphasized. “We are pursuing two goals. The first one is an increase in salaries, the second one is an increase in industry bonuses depending on the contribution of each specific worker. This year the aggregate amount of such bonuses was estimated at Br600 million, while next year it will exceed Br900 million,” the minister explained.