Parliament of Georgia approved the state budget for 2018 with its third hearing. The Government of Georgia’s approved budget for next year is just under 12.46 billion Georgian Lari (GEL), at 12,459,500,000 GEL. 111 Members of Parliament (MPs) voted in favour of this version of the budget during a plenary session yesterday.
The 2018 is 943 million GEL more compared to the budget of 2017, and is a record high budget.
The proposed budget does not suggest raising pensions, and proposes for pensions to remain at their current amount of 180 GEL a month. The budget also does not raise the allowance for socials aid for refugees or for people with disabilities.
The salary fund of people serving in the public sector is raised by 20 million GEL, amounting to 1,413,619,000 GEL (roughly 1.413 billion GEL).
The consolidation of a number of ministries as a result of structural changes in the government is also reflected in the budget.
The budgets for the reduced ministries is being reduced by 200 million GEL, however, the overall of budget size is being increased by 56 million GEL. Only six individual persons lost their jobs as a result of the merge of the ministries.
In late November 2017, the Government of Georgia sent a draft law to the parliament abolishing four ministries. According to the explanatory note of the document, the structural changes in the government will not affect budget expenditures.
The Ministry of Health, Ministry of Infrastructure, and Ministry of Education will have the largest budgets. In 2018, the budget of Ministry of Health will be 3.5 billion GEL, for the Ministry of Infrastructure - 1.8 billion GEL, and for the Ministry of Education - 1.2 billion GEL.
113,000 employees of the Government of Georgia will receive 1.39 billion GEL in salaries. Exact data on salary increases for each ministry can be found here.
The opposition Movement for Liberty - European Georgia party presented this week an alternative 2018 State Budget in which they propose the Government of Georgia to reduce bureaucratic expenditures by 1.417 billion GEL.