Lithuania’s govt to start deliberating 2019 budget

Finance Minister Vilius Šapoka told BNS Lithuania earlier the government estimates a 0.6 percent GDP surplus of public finances next year, unchanged from this year, but the state budget would still have a deficit. The majority of the planned additional funding will go to the structural reforms in the areas of education, health, taxes and pensions, the minister said.

Areas that are not related to strategic projects or the implementation of structural reforms might expect similar funding as this year.

Key tax changes that will come into force early next year were endorsed at the end of the parliament’s spring session in late June. But the parliament might also make new decisions on raising the excise duty for strong beer and also on a car registration fee together with the state budget.

A new municipal funding, or GDP redistribution, scheme will also be approved together with the 2019 budget. Currently, municipalities receive funding based on the number of people living in those municipalities, and the new scheme will envisage incentives for municipalities to create new jobs, attract investment and fight shadow economy.

A state budget bill must be put before parliament by the middle of October. It returns to the government for amendments following the first reading in the Seimas, and finally adopted in December.

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