According to the draft 2018 budget, which was posted yesterday on the Serbian government’s official website, the primary budget deficit will amount to only 1.8 billion dinars, and when the costs of settling current debts are added, it will amount to 24.8 billion dinars or 0.6% of GDP.
This will be a much smaller deficit than the one planned for 2017 (69.1 billion dinars). The projected budget surplus is not yet established.
19 billion dinars more will be set aside for civil servant salaries in 2018 compared to 2017, while capital expenses will be 30 billion dinars higher in 2018.
The government plans to spend 128 billion dinars on investments next years, 34 billion more than planned, as well as 94 billion dinars that were not spent this year. This is the biggest changes in the budget for 2018 relative to this year.
All other budget items are more or less in tune with the projected GDP growth of 3.5% in 2018. In terms of budget spending, less money will be spent on paying for interest rates (134 billion dinars in 2017 compared to 117.8 billion dinars in 2018).
A total of 87.6 billion dinars is allocated for subsidies next year. This year, this amount stood at 84.4 billion dinars. Agricultural subsidies will be higher by 3 billion dinars. Railways will get 800 million dinars less than this year, while subsidies for businesses will be around 15 billion dinars, a 700-million-dinar hike compared to 2017. Out of this amount, 13.9 billion will be spent on attracting investments.
In terms of investments, the government has rejected the Fiscal Council’s request to do a breakdown of investment subsidies per investor.
The National Employment Office is the loser in next year’s budget because it will be given only 500 million dinars compared to 4.9 billion in 2017. On the other hand, the National Health Insurance fund will get 7 billion dinars more than in 2017.
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