Prague, June 22 (CTK) – The Czech Finance Ministry will continue drafting the state budget for 2017 with a deficit of 60 billion crowns, Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) said after a government meeting yesterday, adding that it provides for higher pay for teachers and healthcare employees.
The draft also envisages an increase in the fees that the state pays for health insurance of certain groups of inhabitants, higher pensions and an increase in the Defence Ministry’s budget.
The ministry’s original draft state budget projected a deficit of 48.5 billion crowns, but it said the spendings can be raised by 11.5 billion crowns in keeping with the government coalition agreement.
According to the law, the government must send the 2017 state budget bill to the Chamber of Deputies by the end of September.
During the summer months, Babis will have further negotiations with individual ministers on their offices’ budgets.
The draft state budget puts revenues at 1,260 billion crowns and expenditures at 1,320 billion crowns.
Babis said “we prepared the state budget very carefully and we raised the estimated revenues four times. Now, the increase is 80 billion crowns.”
Yesterday, the government agreed to raise the volume of money for teachers’ salaries by 8 percent while their base pay would rise by 6 percent in 2016. The money for other civil servants will grow by 5 percent and the base pay will go up by 4 percent.
“This has been the biggest increase in the salaries of public sector employees in several past years,” Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD).
The Chamber of Commerce criticised the draft state budget yesterday.
“It is a mistake that at a time when the economy is growing, the draft state budget envisages a higher number of civil servants instead of dealing with the repaying of the state debt or at least the forming of a balanced budget,” the chamber said.
Its president Vladimir Dlouhy said the state should have checked the state’s financial management focused mainly on mandatory expenditures.
($1=23.923 crowns)