Latvia' s ministries and other governmental institutions have come up with new initiatives that would require 800 million euros (909 million U.S. dollars) in the 2017 budget, Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis told reporters Monday.
The largest allocation requests include over 206 million euros sought by the Transport Ministry, about 188.8 million euros requested by the Health Ministry and nearly 140 million euros demanded by the Education and Science Ministry.
The premier indicated, however, that the funding available for these initiatives in next year' s budget is 64 million euros and that this amount has already been included in the ministries' budgets.
"The green light might be given to some things that have gone unnoticed, but the sum total will not change if budget revenues grow at the expected pace," Kucinskis said, noting that budget spending cannot be increased also because the government has committed to keeping caps on taxes.
The government' s priorities and allocations in the 2017 budget are unlikely to change, Kucinskis said.
The 64 million euros, available for the new initiatives, does not include 35 million euros earmarked for health care reforms. Education and health care remain the main budget priorities, the prime minister said.
Meanwhile, Gaidis Berzins, a co-chairman of the ruling right-wing National Alliance, noted tackling Latvia' s demographic issues as one of his party's priorities, and Solvita Aboltina of the center-right Uniy said her party would insist on more funding for education and national security. Unity, however, is also ready to support the reforms planned in the health sector,