2014 budget "based on realistic assumptions"

Finance Minister Lazar Krstić says the 2014 budget has been created "based on realistic assumptions and responsibly."

Source: Tanjug

This means that the cuts to be made "will not be bigger than currently necessary."

Speaking at the National Budget Forum in Belgrade, Krstić said that the 2014 budget is the first step towards consolidating the fiscal system and straightening public finances in Serbia.

Commenting on an opinion that the coming year calls for additional savings of about EUR 300 million, Krstić stressed that the Fiscal Council made the assessment based on the assumption that plans for increased tax collection in 2014 will fall through.

The minister said that the process of restructuring public enterprises will be over in the next six to nine months and that problems involving large enterprises, such as the pharmaceutical company Galenika and the steelworks in Smederevo, will also be solved.

“We realize that it must be done, because if it does not happen in six to nine months from now, no savings will be made and it will be impossible to implement the budget,” he said.

Krstić said that the government is considering limiting employment in the public administration sector and other large systems, bearing in mind the growing number of employees in the public sector.

The budget system bill that will be discussed in the government on Thursday will with rules regarding employment of new people in the public administration, Krstić said.

Krstić said that it was not politically possible to go for more aggressive reforms in the pension system now.

Krstić also announced on Wednesday that a technical mission of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will come to Belgrade next week to discuss a package of measures for fiscal consolidation.

He told the reporters that the IMF will help Serbian authorities arrive at a better way of planning and collecting revenues, and planning and meeting budgetary expenditures.

Krstić specified that a new arrangement with the IMF is still not being discussed, but it would be good for Serbia to have a precautionary arrangement with that institution, and not the one that implies any sort of loan.

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