Zagreb - The Parliamentary Finance Committee on Wednesday upheld the 2018 draft budget and budget planning for 2019 and 2020, with one abstention by Social Democratic Party (SDP) MP Branko Grčić.
Finance Ministry State Secretary, Željko Tufekčić underscored that the 2018 budget was a continuation of fiscal consolidation and improving fiscal indicators. "Following a revision of the planned state deficit for this year of 0.6%, GDP and an expected decrease in the debt to GDP ratio of about 3% by the end of the year, the deficit planned for 2018 is about 0.5% of GDP. The trend of decreasing the debt to GDP ratio will continue by about an estimated 3.2% and at the end of 2018 should be at a level of about 76%," Tufekčić said.
He recalled that the Finance Ministry was in the process of issuing state bonds to cover debts in the motorways sector and added that investors had expressed their satisfaction with the trend in fiscal indicators over the past two years.
Tufekčić expects the refinancing of an additional 2.4 billion euro in loans for the motorway sector which means a significant decrease in the cost of interest on those loans. The 2018 draft budget foresees a total revenue of HRK 129 billion, which is 6.1% higher than the current budget while total expenditure is expected at HRK 133.3 billion, an increase of HRK 5 billion. The deficit will be about 0,5% or HRK 2 billion while an economic growth of 2.9% is forecast. (EUR 1 = HRK 7.5)
Commending on the efforts that are visible in the 2018 budget, an external member of the committee, Željko Lovrinčević recommended that a register be set up of potential liabilities that could emerge as a consequence of court disputes, arbitration proceedings and the like. Tufekčić explained that a list of potential liabilities exists and will be released together with the report on the execution of the 2017 budget. (Hina)