Slovakia opts for record budget deficit for 2020. Opposition criticizes ambiguity of expenditures – ČT24 – Czech Television

The increase in Slovakia’s budget deficit was pushed through during the vote by deputies of government parties, which have a comfortable majority in the Chamber of Deputies. The opposition criticized the material, claiming that the exact use of the additionally planned expenditures was unknown. The Independent Budget Council also pointed out in its commentary on the draft that part of the new expenditure was not explained in the material.

According to the Ministry of Finance, the main part of the increased expenditures consists of costs directly related to covid-19. The allocation of another 2.9 billion euros (over 77 billion crowns) for expenditures was justified by the Office, for example, in liabilities in health care and transport, which the current budget allegedly did not cover. In addition, the Ministry of Finance included in the draft a reserve for possible unexpected expenses.

In the first half of this year, the state budget of Slovakia showed a deficit of almost 3.91 billion euros (104 billion crowns).

Slovak analysts and an independent budget council warned last year when approving the state budget for this year and before the outbreak of the covidu-19 pandemic, that the state’s economy would be worse than planned without additional measures. Slovakia expects its economy to fall by about ten percent this year due to Covid-19. The unemployment rate rose to a three-year high of 7.2 percent in May.

Last week, the Czech Chamber of Deputies approved an increase in this year’s state budget deficit to a record 500 billion crowns. This was the third increase in this year’s deficit due to the effects of coronavirus. Also in approving it, part of the opposition criticized that it was not known exactly enough where the additional expenditures would go.

The chairwoman of the National Budget Council, Eva Zamrazilová, stated that the increase in the deficit was premature and unjustified. She pointed out, for example, that the government had not yet provided an overview of what it needed for the extra money. “According to my calculations, the deficit could be maintained at 350.400 billion crowns,” she said.

The Czech state budget deficit at the end of June amounted to 195.2 billion crowns.

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