TBILISI, DFWatch — One of the controversial cuts Prime Minister Ivanishvili wants to make in next year’s budget is to reduce funding for Georgia’s National Security Council – which had a central role in protecting the country in the 2008 war – from USD 15 million to just one million.
Also other cuts in the new government’s 2013 draft budget, which was presented on Monday, has led to controversy.
The new government has reduced the president’s reserve funds from USD 30 million to USD 6 million, while the government’s reserve fund remains the same, USD 30 million.
The president’s administration has reduced its financing by USD 3 million to about USD 6 million. The president’s spokesperson Manana Manjgaladze said that the president’s administration now has to switch off lighting at the presidential palace, except for the place where the guard is standing.
“Expenses were spent for outdoor lighting, which also served for beauty of our capital, but due to the new budget, which reduces the financing of the president’s administration, we are forced to turn the lights off.”
The draft budget also makes cuts in the financing of Georgia’s National Security Council from USD 15 million to about USD one million, while it increases the financing of the Georgian church from about USD 13 million to USD 15 million.
During the election campaign Bidzina Ivanishvili, Prime Minister a few times underlined that the church’s financing was subject to review. He said it’s not correct when the government gives jeeps to priests for free, no extra expenses should be spent. However, the new budget doesn’t reflect his statements causing tense discussions on social networks, where people criticize the budget for reducing the Security Council’s financing and increasing it for the church.
Some people draw attention to an agreement between the church and the government, which says that government has no obligation to finance the church, but for years the state has financed the patriarchy. For several weeks before the draft was presented, representatives for the Georgian Dream coalition even spoke of suspending the church’s financing entirely.
Ever since the parliamentary election results were clear, politicians, civil society representatives and ordinary citizens have been discussing who will be new ombudsman, and given the large interest for this post, it was unexpected when that the draft budget reduces the financing of the ombudsman’s office from USD 1 303 194 to USD 1 115 129, instead of expected increase.
Draft reduces reserve funds for projects to implement in the regions to the half USD 90 000 000. Financing for all nine administration of the regions are also reduced.
Georgian Public Broadcaster also gets reduced financing; it will be USD 19 million, instead of USD 29 million.
Prognosis for real growth of GDP for 2013 will be 6 percent, by new draft.
“Considering current trends in the world economy, next year’s fiscal and macroeconomic indicators are planned with conservative approaches and by 2013 prognosis of real growth of GDP is 6.0 percent, deflator of GDP is 4.5 percent,” the draft budget says.
On the income side of the budget is 8 730 000 000 lari, nearly USD 5 260 000 000. Total amount of budget expenses for 2013 is 7 339 700 000 lari, nearly USD 4 424 000 000.
Country’s internal and foreign liabilities increase with USD 493 million. Credits from foreign sources amounts USD 432 million, while USD 60 million is expenses received from internal sources, issuing treasury bills.
Distribution of the financing for ministries in Georgia is following: Sports Ministry – 47 million lari, Agriculture Ministry 218 915 000 lari, Energy Ministry 118 265 000 lari, Health Ministry – 2 000 000 000 lari, Refugee Ministry – 48 million lari, Education Ministry – 640 000 000 lari, Interior Ministry – 585 200 000 lari, Defense Ministry – 690 000 000 lari, Foreign Affairs Ministry – 76 000 000 lari, Prison Ministry 170 000 000 lari, Ministry of Justice – 67 000 000 lari, Regional development and infrastructure Ministry – 855 307 000 lari, Economy Ministry – 70 500 000 lari, Finance Ministry – 100 000 000 lari, Employment Ministry apparatus – one million lari, reintegration minister apparatus – 1 350 000 lari, minister in diaspora issues apparatus – 850 000 lari, EU and EU Atlantic Integration minister apparatus – 2 300 000 lari.