Political debates on the budget review in FYROM

Political debates on the budget review in FYROM

IBNA Special Report

Skopje, August 26, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Naser Pajaziti

Parliamentary debates are taking place in FYR Macedonia on the 2014 budget review.

The budget is being reviewed due to the high budget deficit during the first half of the year. In order to cover budget expenses, two months ago the government launched Euro bonds in the market, amounting to 500 million Euros.

Minister of Finance, Zoran Stravrevski said that the review is taking place in order to have a more efficient budget.

The government has decided for the budget to be reduced by 5% or government expenses to be cut by 143 million Euros. Each of the 14 ministries will have their expenses cut by 10 million Euros.

“The budget review consists on a 2% cut of expenses. 10 extra million Euros will be allocated for the reconstruction of the tenth Corridor, namely the highway linking Demir Kapi to Smokvic. There will be sufficient funds for salaries, payments, subsidies and social cases. This budget review is planning to take deficit to 3,9% of GDP”, said minister Stravrevski.

Zoran Vitanov, economic expert, doesn’t believe on what the government says that the review is being made in order to invest in infrastructure.

“If the review was truly made to invest in infrastructure, then it would be alright, because we saw prime minister Gruevski inaugurate the road segment of Gjevlegjia, which is a five million Euros investment and the budget doesn’t need to be reviewed for an amount of five million Euros. I believe that the budget is being reviewed in order to pay the debts taken for the votes which were bought during the elections, because we all know that during the recent elections, the government wanted to gain more votes from pensioners and administration, as they directly depend on the government”, says Vitanov.

Macedonian opposition, which is outside parliament, will not participate in parliamentary debates, said that this review is not rational and that through them and through debts, the government is trying to maintain financial stability.

“The government’s projections in the review are pointless, as we have witnessed how this government is lying to the citizens on a daily basis, how it’s making calculations with their money and how it’s impoverishing them on a daily basis”, said Kire Naumov from the biggest Macedonian opposition party, LSDM (Macedonian Social Democratic League).

But, the budget review has caused clashes even within  the Albanian camp.

MP from the Albanian opposition party PDSH (Albanian Democratic Party), Merale Ferati says that the budget review will also reduce the number of projects, including those projects destined for Albanians.

“On the other hand, Albanians continue to live in misery, without roads, ambulances, schools, theaters and libraries. They continue to suffer the lack of drinking water and basic living need”, said the PDSH lawmaker.

This party has prepared 236 amendments, which require funds for local government projects destined for Albanians, mainly in roads, hospitals and schools. But, the claims of the Albanian opposition have been rejected by the Albanian party in power, BDI (Democratic Union for Integration).

“All the projected projects will be implemented. There are minimum cuts, which will not have an  impact on projects in Albanian areas”, declared BDI’s lawmaker, Rexhal Ismaili. The parliament debate is expected to last 10 days, as 300 amendments will be discussed.

The 2014 FYROM’s budget amounts to 3 billion USD. /ibna/