ArmInfo. The National Assembly of Armenia on December 8 approved the draft state budget for 2018. For the adoption of the document, 64 deputies voted, with 35 against and no abstentions.
Presenting the final version of the Basic Economic Law of the country, RA Minister of Finance Vardan Aramyan noted that following the discussions and proposals received, the expenditures of the state budget of Armenia in 2018 will increase by 15 billion drams. Budget expenditures from the previously planned 1, 464.2 billion drams (1.360.1 billion in 2017 and 1.420.6 billion in 2016) will grow to 1, 465.2 billion drams. As explained Aramyan, according to the law of the Republic of Armenia "On the budget system," the costs are calculated and based on the exchange rate as of September 1. Later, changes in the exchange rate of the currency required certain adjustments. In this case, as the head of the Ministry of Finance pointed out, changes in the exchange rate of almost 5 drams led to an increase in revenues by 1.5 billion drams. In addition, the expenditure part of the draft budget grew by 4 billion drams, which was due to the increase in financing of the healthcare system of Armenia - from 72.6 billion drams, planned by the previous text of the document, to 76.6 billion drams.
The State Water Committee of Armenia also expects an increase in financing in the amount of 1 billion 289 million drams to cover the costs associated with the rise in price of the water tariff in the amount of 11.4 drams per cubic meter (including VAT). In compliance with the requirements of the new Constitution, the expenditures of the Government apparatus will be allocated 1.7 billion drams more than the previous version of the draft budget. At the same time, the Reserve Fund of the government will be increased by 3.9 billion drams from 21.1 billion drams earlier laid down to 25 billion drams, which is due to planned activities and, possibly, unplanned expenses for them. About 1bln AMD are planned to be allocated for ensuring border security and implementation of Armenia's obligations in the framework of international agreements. According to the head of the Ministry of Finance, on the part of parliamentarians there were proposals to increase expenditure items in a number of spheres and directions, or at least to maintain the indicators of 2017.
The Ministry of Finance plans to consider the proposals within the framework of the medium-term expenditure program for 2018-2021. According to some proposals, despite their relevance, the Ministry of Finance was forced to pass a negative conclusion, as Vardan Aramyan noted that as a result, Armenia could go beyond the threshold set by the country's fiscal legislation.
Note that the nominal GDP of Armenia in 2018, according to the draft budget for the next year, will grow by 441 billion - from the expected by the end of 2017 5,409.1 billion to the projected 5.850.7 billion drams. Economic growth in 2018 is planned at 4.5% or $ 11.948.9 million. Forecasts of economic growth for the next year are largely due to the outlined positive dynamics this year, as a result of which the Ministry of Finance raised forecasts for economic growth in 2017 from the planned 3, 2% to 4.3%. In the matter of ensuring economic growth, one of the locomotives is promised by industry and the services sector. So, 4.5% of GDP will be provided at the expense of industry 1.1%, agriculture - 0.6%, services - 2.2%, net indirect taxes - 0.4%. 12-month inflation by the end of 2018 will be 4%, instead of expected in 2017, 2.4% and actual -1.1% at the end of 2016. Exports will reach 37.4% of GDP, against the projected in 2017 37% and 33.1% in 2016. The consolidated budget of Armenia for the year 2018 in terms of revenues, according to the results of parliamentary adjustments, will make 1.308.2bln AMD, instead of 1.307.3bln drams announced earlier (without receipt of interbudgetary transfers). The deficit / GDP instead of 156.8bln AMD in the previous text of the document will make 156.9bln AMD. Capital expenditures will make 158.7bln AMD, instead of 172.4bln AMD (160bn in 2016) earlier planned, current expenses from 1.391.8bln AMD will grow to 1.306.5bln AMD. By the end of 2018, the national debt, with $ 6.8bln of AMD expected by the end of this year, will grow to over $ 7.2 billion and make up 60% of GDP.