Government confirms changes to 2016 state budget
The government approved changes to Estonia's state budget for the current year on Thursday in order to adjust financing to conform to changed needs.
The planned changes, which must still be endorsed by the Riigikogu, will not alter the total sum of the state budget's income and outlays, said the Ministry of Finance. In all, the government will be submitting 98 proposals to the Riigikogu worth a total of approximately 20 million euros.
"We wish to use taxpayer money in the most targeted manner," said Minister of Finance Sven Sester. "Expenditures adjourned from this year allow us to support other items."
According to the minister, funds will be redirected to benefit hospitals, scientific libraries as well as the Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR) in construction work and acquiring a remote broadcasting studio. "We will also give additional support to the troubled agriculture sector," said Sester. "That will be on top of EU support."
An additional three million euros will be paid out to the agricultural sector together with the 4.6 million euros earmarked in the budget for 2017. Support for the Ministry of Culture will increase by four million euros, meant for the completion of the new ERR news building one month ahead of schedule as well as for the acquisition of technical equipment for a remote broadcast studio.
In the Ministry of Social Affairs' area of government, one million euros will be given to support the networking of Põlva Hospital with the Tartu University Hospital, while in the Ministry of Defense budget, funds for the acquisition of defense-related special equipment will increase by 9.8 million euros on account of money not spent as a result of delays in payouts of investments in buildings and structures as well as unsused payroll funds. Investments in the Ministry of Defense's area of government will contract by 6.7 million euros.
The Ministry of the Interior will spend an additional 250,000 to purchase protective gear for rescuers. This money was originally earmarked for work on building installations on the Estonian-Russian border, in which item costs have been specified and some moved forward to next year.
The state's receipts have been budgeted to total 8.84 billion euros in 2016.