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2019.12.16 17:30

Lithuanian government backs budget bill, freezes Climate Change Programme

Paulius Viluckas, Šarūnas Sabaitis, BNS2019.12.16 17:30

Lithuania's government has on Monday endorsed the next year's budget bill, with a vote in the parliament scheduled for Tuesday. To achieve fiscal discipline, the government has proposed freezing the Climate Change Programme.

The latest bill version includes additional funds for child benefits, basic pensions, state-funded Bachelor's studies and higher salaries for various public services and officials.

"To implement the aforementioned changes and not to breach fiscal discipline and ensure a public finances surplus of 0.2 percent GDP, we propose […] freezing funds for the Road Maintenance and Development programme and the Climate Change Programme," Finance Minister Vilius Šapoka said during the government sitting on Monday.

The government proposed to freeze funding for the two programmes in order to fulfill social welfare increases, as well as to meet the European Fiscal Compact, which sets a certain budgetary surplus for each member state.

15.9 million euros in additional funding was allocated for pensions, and 4 million euros for state-funded Bachelor's studies.

The government also proposed allocating 40 million euros in additional for child benefits, in reference to the recent proposal by Lithuania's ruling parties to increase the child benefits from 50 to 60 euros per child per month, and from 70 to 100 euros per child for large families as of January 1.

According to Šapoka, the 2020 budget's planned revenue was reduced by 30 million euros, including a 9.5-million-euro shortfall due to a lower tax on polluting cars. The budget also saw 38-million-euro less in revenues from other taxes. Meanwhile, the planned corporate tax revenue rose by 17.7 million euros.

The Seimas is due to vote on the final version of the budget bill on Tuesday.