YEREVAN, November 1. / ARKA /. Opposition mps disagree with government statement that 2003 budget is socially oriented.
On Tuesday, when presenting his government’s draft 2013 budget to lawmakers prime minister Sargsyan said the main priorities of the budget are improvement of the business environment, securing macroeconomic stability, high economic growth rate and effective social policy.
However, finance minister Vache Gabrielyan said that social spending in 2013 will be reduced by 4.1 billion drams in comparison with 2012, to about 303 billion drams, which he explained by the completion of housing construction in the earthquake zone and a 1.1 billion cut in the amount set aside as retirement pensions.
An MP Mikael Melkumyan from the Prosperous Armenia Party, asked today deputy finance minister Pavel Safaryan whether it is correct to define next year’s budget as ‘socially oriented”.
"Judging by the draft budget, the social indicators are getting worse, the number of pensioners and the birth rate are expected to dwindle, but the prime minister says we are going to have a social budget", he said.
Hrant Bagratyan from the Armenian National Congress said it is wrong to call the budget ‘social’, because its ultimate objective is to meet the needs of society.
The deputy finance minister retorted by saying there is no clear legal definition of a "social budget".
He said the prime minister called the budget ‘social’ because its greater part is earmarked as public spending.
The draft 2013 budget calls for 1.031 trillion drams in revenue and 1.151 trillion drams in spending. The projected deficit is 124 billion drams or 2.6 percent of the overall GDP. The government also expects the inflation next year to be 4±1.5%. Its GDP projection is 6.2%. ($1 – 405.47 drams). -0-