18 Oct 2023 15:03

Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada starts to review 2024 draft budget

MOSCOW. Oct 18 (Interfax) - The Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada will begin reviewing a draft budget for 2024 in the first reading at its plenary session on Wednesday, MP Yaroslav Zheleznyak said.

"Today the parliament will start to review the draft budget for 2024 with the conclusions and suggestions from deputies [first reading]," Ukrainian media outlets quoted Zheleznyak as saying in a social media post.

The Verkhovna Rada will have to consider more than 1,600 amendments to the draft document that have been submitted, Zheleznyak said. He expects MPs to vote on the 2024 draft budget on Thursday.

Under the rules of procedure, the Verkhovna Rada is to adopt the draft budget in the first reading before October 20 and as a whole before November 20, he said.

As reported, the Verkhovna Rada's Budget Committee on Sunday gave the green light to the first-reading debate on the government-proposed draft budget for 2024. However, the parliamentary committee advised the government to cut spending on the Economic Security Bureau by 409 million hryvni and to use these funds to buy scanners for the customs service at railroad border crossings.

"The significant changes that the government should take into consideration while preparing for the second reading include steps to increase expected budget revenue by 9.9 billion hryvni if legislation on bank taxes is passed, additionally decrease spending on construction, maintenance and procurement in various government agencies by almost 1.3 billion hryvni and provide an extra 574 million hryvni for prosthetic care of military personnel," Budget Committee head Roksolana Pidlasa said on social media.

There is also a proposal to raise spending on educational subventions by more than 384 million hryvni by reducing capital expenditure, increase spending on the functioning of the Supreme Council of Justice and the Higher Qualification Commission of Judges by a total of 62 million hryvni, allocate 376 million hryvni for solid rocket fuel disposal in order to avert an environmental disaster, and allocate an extra 100 million hryvni on scientific research by the National Academy of Sciences, Pidlasa said.

The committee also recommended instructing the government to look into 61 additional issues regarding ways to increase budget revenue and once again thoroughly analyze budget expenditure, reducing non-priority spending and allocating more funds for measures where it will be substantiated.

As reported, the government had submitted the 2024 draft budget to the Verkhovna Rada. The draft budget puts its revenue at 1.746 trillion hryvni, expenditure at 3.108 trillion hryvni and the maximum deficit at 1.593 trillion hryvni.

Thus, the government proposes increasing the 2024 budget's revenue by 25.6% and expenditure by 7.6% and reducing the deficit by 7.3% as compared to this year's budget.

Meanwhile, the Verkhovna Rada on October 6 passed amendments to the 2023 budget, raising its revenue by 317.1 billion hryvni by increasing domestic borrowing by 207.6 billion hryvni and external loans by 91.2 billion hryvni.

The revenue set in the 2024 draft budget is 23.3%, or 329.9 billion hryvni, higher as compared to these figures, expenditure is 2.5%, or 84 billion hryvni lower, and the deficit is 20.7%, or 416.8 billion hryvni lower.

Zheleznyak said later on Wednesday that the Verkhovna Rada had voted in favor of the Budget Committee's resolution "On conclusions and suggestions to the draft state budget for 2024" and took it as a basis.

"More than 1,600 amendments will then be debated and there will be a vote on the committee's conclusions afterwards. Some 400 amendments will be put to a vote. Such a vote will be held tomorrow," he said.

The adoption of this resolution as a whole, which is expected to take place on Thursday, will conclude the first reading debate on the draft budget, he said.