News2019.10.22 11:00

Lithuanian government sends 2020 budget package to parliament

The Lithuanian 2020 state budget bill and draft budgets for the national social insurance fund Sodra and the Compulsory Health Insurance Fund are to be tabled in the parliament, Seimas, for debate on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis describes the state's revenue and expenditure plan as “balanced”, saying most of the spending will go toward social needs. According to Finance Minister Vilius Šapoka, next year's budget will encourage a more efficient use of funds.

The bill provides for raising excise duties on strong alcohol, tobacco and fuel, and scrapping a tax exemption for gas oils used for heating. It also calls for expanding the real estate tax and introducing a levy on polluting cars.

The package also includes proposals for taxing assets of banks and credit institutions as well as big retail chains. Another proposal is to cut the planned increase in the non-taxable personal income threshold.

The bill earmarks 327 million euros for raising pensions, with the average old-age pension planned to reach 374 euros, and another 149 million euros for increasing the monthly child benefit.

The minimum monthly wage is expected to rise by 52 euros to 607 euros before taxes and by 41 euros to 437 euros after taxes.

The central government's budget revenue is projected to grow nine percent next year compared with this year, to 11.545 billion euros, and expenditure is to increase eight percent, to 12.646 billion euros.

Sodra's draft budget for 2020 targets a revenue surplus of 347.3 million euros, down by 11.5 percent compared with this year's estimate, with revenue projected at 4.862 billion euros and expenditure at 4.515 billion euros, up by 6 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively.

The revenue of the Compulsory Health Insurance Fund should grow 11.7 percent, to 2.301 billion euros, and expenditure should go up 7.4 percent, to 2.1 billion euros.

The state budget is planned with a general government surplus of 0.2 percent of GDP. The state's accumulated reserves are expected to reach 1.69 billion euros in late 2020, accounting for 3.3 percent of the GDP, up from the projected 2.2 percent of GDP in late 2019.

The parliament usually sends the budget bill back to the government for improvement after the first reading and holds a final vote in December.

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