MINSK, 4 January (BelTA) – Belarus' Deputy Finance Minister Elena Pechen told the media about the priorities in the budget for the new year as she commented on the law on national budget for 2022 which the head of state signed on 3 January, BelTA has learned.
“The 2022 budget authorizes Br27.8 billion in revenues and nearly Br30.8 billion in spending, taking a more careful approach to the expenditure side of the budget compared to the target economic scenario. In particular, Br900 million are not allocated to finance certain expenditures. They are taken into account as part of the head of state's additional reserve fund. In case of any risks that may have a negative impact on the budget, these funds will be used to increase salaries in the public sector, and to fund investment programs, primarily the regional ones,” said Elena Pechen.
According to her, social spending has not only been preserved, but also significantly increased. “Over 45% of all expenditures of the consolidated budget are social spending. This shows that the state cares about its citizens. Traditionally, local budgets play a key role in this part. Improving people's welfare remains a priority, of course. Budgetary wage spending has been increased by Br1.7 billion over last year. There are also Br600 million earmarked for additional payments. In particular, teachers will start getting them from 1 January,” she said. Additional payments are also envisaged for people working in the social services sector, physical education and sports, and organizations providing cultural services.
Demographic security is among the budget priorities as well. It is expected that about 14,900 families will apply for the family capital this year. The national budget provides Br380 million for these purposes. Funding for free IVF procedure has been doubled this year to make up Br11 million.
As for healthcare, about 70% of all expenses are covered by the budget. “The consolidated budget expenditures for these purposes are Br8.4 billion. An estimated Br1.9 billion of them will be allocated to purchase medications and medical products. Some Br240 million will be used to purchase vaccines, and another Br50 million on the investment project to develop the Belarusian vaccine against COVID-19,” added Elena Pechen.
This year's spending on education will total Br8.6 billion. In addition to regular spending on educational facilities and financing the educational process, a pilot project will be implemented to take some 100,000 10th and 11th graders on excursions to boost civic engagement among the youth and develop patriotic education.
“The state does not forget those people who laid the foundation of our present. Earlier the Great Patriotic War veterans were provided with financial aid only on the occasion of the anniversaries. This year the national budget envisages Br11 million for these purposes,” the deputy minister said.
Belarus also intends to maintain its reputation as a reliable borrower that meets its obligations on time and in full. Some Br6.9 billion is envisaged for the repayment of the state debt and about Br3.5 billion for its servicing.
“In general, the budget is approved with a deficit of about 1.5% of GDP. It is an absolutely acceptable deficit for us. We have guaranteed sources to finance it,” Elena Pechen said.