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Czech News in English » Business » Finance » FinMin says president supports 2016 draft state budget

FinMin says president supports 2016 draft state budget

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Lany, Central Bohemia, July 25 (CTK) – President Milos Zeman supports the present draft of the Czech state budget for next year, Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) said after meeting Zeman at the Lany presidential chateau Saturday.

Babis said Zeman will attend the cabinet meeting that will be discussing the budget bill. He expects Zeman to sign the final budget bill into law, he added.

“As the president and his expert team supports it and as he wants to take part in the cabinet meeting dealing with the budget, I logically expect him to sign (the budget),” Babis said.

The ministries currently want 38 billion crowns more than is in the 2016 draft budget, while a month ago they still wanted 57 billion more, he said.

Babis said Zeman and his aides appreciated that the budget deficit was going down.

Zeman called on the Finance Ministry not to give in to the pressures to increase the deficit, Babis said.

“The president is satisfied with the draft budget for next year. He appreciated that his main demand of a deficit of 70 billion crowns was met,” Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek writes on Twitter.

In June, the centre-left government approved the basic parameters of the 2016 budget, including a 70-billion deficit.

This year, the deficit is projected at 100 billion crowns.

Babis said Zeman’s aides primarily support investments in transport infrastructure and the co-financing of projects supported from EU subsidies within the Local Development Ministry.

“They expressed support for the electronic cash registers that our government considers the foundation of the fight against grey economy,” Babis said.

He said Zeman could not see any assessment and allocation system in financing science and research and he did not like the fact that 90 percent of subsidised private schools focused on humanities.

Babis said he found further 10 billion crowns in the budget thanks to a better structure of the mandatory expenditures and an expected higher tax revenue. He said the Education Ministry would get 2.1 billion crowns from this extra money and the Industry and Trade Ministry 1.2 billion crowns.

Babis had lunch with Zeman and he spent about four hours in Lany.

Opposition Civic Democrat (right-wing ODS) leader Petr Fiala criticised the draft budget for having a deficit at a time of economic growth.

He said the socialist government increases welfare benefits and raises salaries of civil servants, while the ODS would lower the budget deficit and cancel some taxes instead.

Fiala said Babis gave more money to ministries headed by ANO politicians than to those headed by representatives of the coalition Social Democrats (CSSD) and Christian Democrats (CSSD).

According to the budget draft, half of the ministries will have their budgets reduced in 2016. A number of ministers disapprove of the changes and they are negotiating with Babis.

Next week, Babis is to have talks with Culture Minister Daniel Herman (KDU-CSL) and Labour Minister Michaela Marksova (CSSD).

The government must submit the draft budget to the Chamber of Deputies by the end of September.

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