Fiala: 2023 Draft Budget Is Response To Crisis and War
Prime Minister Petr Fiala said the budget deficit was higher than he would like. Photo credit: Freepik.
Prague, Oct 27 (CTK) – The Czech state budget for 2023 is a response to war and crisis, ensuring security and necessary investments as well as help for citizens, Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) told MPs while introducing the budget in the lower house yesterday.
The budget is “literally the outcome of crisis management,” he added.
Fiala admitted that the budget deficit of CZK 295 billion was higher than he would wish, explaining that one of the reasons was the increasing expenditure on pensions, raised by CZK 81 billion compared to this year. If the situation is favourable, the government will come up with a plan of restricting state expenditure in the spring, he added.
The opposition parties have criticised the budget bill.
Senior opposition ANO deputy group head Alena Schillerova said the draft budget was full of controversial measures, and the proposed deficit of CZK 295 billion was not realistic.
Tomio Okamura, leader of the far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD), said Fiala’s coalition government could lead the country to bankruptcy and collapse with it.
One of the cabinet’s main aims, promised to the voters as well as the lower house, is to decrease the state debt and consolidate the state finances, said Fiala. He promised that under favourable circumstances, the government’s strategy to achieve this would be presented in the spring, but it had to be postponed due to the war in Ukraine.
Fiala said the government was compensating for the impact of soaring energy and gas prices, expenditure related to the aid to Ukrainian refugees, and increased investment in both internal and external security. He also said that the risks the country is facing have risen significantly.
He also said CZK 200 billion from the budget would be used to help with energy prices, out of which CZK 100 billion would be used to cover compensation for the energy price caps.
The government is investing in strategic fields to secure the country’s development, Fiala said. He argued that the budget does not burden the economy dramatically, and the departmental expenditures are legitimate.
The Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Czech parliament, is debating the budget draft in the first reading today. It is due to vote on its basic features, meaning revenues, expenditures and deficit.