The Serbian Fiscal Council said that the anti-pandemic measures could have cost EUR 2 billion less than what the government had spent.
“If the anti-COVID measures were directed towards the endangered segments of the economy and population, up to EUR 2 billion less could have been spent from the budget,” the independent government body said in its latest report.
The report added that EUR 5.4 billion were spent on the measures during the crisis. It also stated that the strong fiscal policy measures were justified but were not selective, thus making them more expensive.
About EUR 1.5 billion could have been saved by providing aid to the population using the same criteria as other countries of Central and Eastern Europe.
“All things considered, we believe that some EUR 2 billion or around 4 percent of the GDP could have been saved if the budget funds had been directed to the worst affected segments of the economy and population with a slightly lower GDP growth,” the report said. It recalled that the funds for the financial measures during the pandemic came from loans which increased Serbia’s public debt by some EUR 6 billion in 2021 compared to the end of 2019.
The Fiscal Council additionally said that Serbia’s higher spending on its health care system compared to other countries in Central and Eastern Europe was inevitable because of decades of insufficient investments.
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