The Committee on Finance, State Budget and Control of Public Spending organised a public hearing on “Presentation of the 2022 Budget and 2020 Budget Final Financial Statement”.
In his introductory address, National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic expressed satisfaction that this, in many ways, the most important law for every government and every parliament, has once again arrived on time and is comprehensive in its content, clear and presents in detail our, not only financial and developmental, but also overall policy for the next year.
"Since the Government determined the budget proposal for next year, I have not heard any major objections to its structure or content, not even from those who would find a flaw in everything in this Government and this Parliament. This budget is the best mirror of our stable economic outlook and above all of our great developmental ambitions in the year ahead. I will agree with those who say that this budget is also aimed at raising our citizens’ standard, as can be seen in the series of planned incentives, primarily the increase in salaries and pensions. What is also extremely important, growth in public investments is also planned in the next year, which speaks volumes about the state’s commitment to the development of our capital systems", said Dacic.
He stressed that the budget is a realistic reflection of our economic power, projected to grow by 4.5%, which after this year’s expected 7% clearly shows that our economy is healthy and that we have every reason to improve of our citizens’ financial position and invest in the largest projects.
The Chairperson of the Committee on Finance, State Budget and Control of Public Spending Dr Aleksandra Tomic, greeted the guests who took part in the public hearing, yielding the floor to the State Secretary in the Ministry of Finance Sasa Stevanovic who presented the 2022 Budget.
Stevanovic pointed out that the 2022 Budget Proposal is primarily developmental, with a projected 4.5%, growth in the gross domestic product, which will most probably exceed 7%. He said that the public debt at the central government level is projected at 55.5%, while we will end this year with a maximum of 58.2% at the general government level, i.e. 57.3% at the central level.
"What is very good is that we changed direction, redirected last year’s curve caused by the pandemic and decrease in economic activity. The share of public debt is falling in relation to GDP and that trend will continue in the coming years as well", said Stevanovic. According to him, the projected budget and planned deficit in the 2022 budget is 3% of GDP, i.e. 200.2 billion RSD, with total planned revenues of 1,516.8 billion RSD.
The President of the State Audit Institution Council Dr Dusko Pejovic presented the 2020 Budget Final Financial Statement. He stressed that the realized 2020 budget revenues amounted to 1,301.9 billion RSD, which is 100.8% compared to the plan. "This is another confirmation that the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Ministry of Finance are realistically and, to a large degree, conservatively planning the budget and all the budgetary positions on the revenue side were realised in an amount higher than planned", said Pejovic.
The presentations were followed by a discussion, after which the Committee Chairperson delivered her closing remarks saying that the debate in the Parliament is a critical but constructive dialogue which contributes to the institutions becoming accustomed to respecting the recommendations of the State Audit Institution more and more, which in turn leads to a reduction in infringements. "That is how we have received, in a way, the recognition of the European Commission, which emphasised in its reports that the external audit by both the MPs and the DRI has been strengthened and is yielding results", said Tomic. She reminded the attending that the World Bank had also given us good marks in its assessments of budget transparency.
Tomic emphasised that the Committee will continue with its active work, as well as the practice of holding sessions outside the National Assembly seat, which have proven to be an exceptional way to strengthen cooperation with local self-governments.