Latvia’s Parliament, the Saeima, approved Latvia’s 2007 national budget on Monday, November 28, forecasting budget revenues of EUR 8.066 billion and expenditures of EUR 8.367 billion next year.
Opposition MPs criticised the budget, maintaining that it offers no hope for enhancement in areas that are essential to society and arguing that some of the measures would harm small businesses. Coalition MPs, in return, attempted to disprove these arguments. Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis (Latvian Alliance of the Green Party and Farmers Union) declared during parliamentary debates that “this budget is not suitable for conspicuous metaphors, and its ideology is based on the ability of coalition partners to agree on compromises and to take the first step toward radical reforms in many years. We are heading into uncharted territory, because staying put would be pointless. Let’s take the first step together.”
The Prime Minister rejected claims that the budget lacks a strategy and applauded his government for listening to its social partners and receiving constructive criticism.
In comparison to the 2016 budget, revenues are expected to grow by EUR 664 million, with expenditures rising by EUR 681 million next year. Alterations of budget line items have provided an additional EUR 60 million that will be used for government initiatives and priorities in various sectors. The Finance Ministry has said that the government is determined to revise the budget regularly in future as that becomes necessary.
The government forecasts 3.5% economic growth in 2017 and 3.4% in 2018 and 2019. Employment growth is expected to reach a level of 0.2% in 2017.