The federal budget adopted by the State Duma in the second reading may be adjusted if the pandemic cannot be stopped in the first half of 2021. This was stated by experts interviewed by Izvestia. However, the current version of the budget suits them so far. The strengths of the main financial document, analysts recognized the growth of spending on economic support, social measures and regional transfers. According to the chairman of the State Duma Committee on Budget and Taxes Andrei Makarov, the main changes for the second reading were related to the financing of the National Action Plan and the redistribution of funds within national projects.
3.5 trillion amendments
More than 660 amendments were approved to the draft federal budget for 2021-2023; in total, these decisions redistributed about 3.5 billion rubles. The lower house of parliament worked on adjustments together with the government, and cooperation has never been so close, said Andrei Makarov, chairman of the State Duma committee on budget and taxes. According to him, First of all, the changes affected the financing of the National Action Plan – a document aimed at restoring employment and incomes of the population, as well as economic growth and long-term structural changes.
– For 2021 alone, funds for these purposes have been distributed in the amount of almost 640 billion rubles, – said Andrey Makarov.
Affected amendments and loan programs to support employment for companies from the sectors most affected by the pandemic. 421 billion rubles will be allocated for this next year, the head of the committee noted. And for measures to reduce the weighted average mortgage rate on housing loans below 8%, in particular, for a preferential mortgage program at 6.5%, 23.4 billion will be allocated in 2021, he said.
The second important direction of amendments to the draft federal budget, Andrei Makarov, called the redistribution of funds allocated for the implementation of national projects and a comprehensive plan for the modernization and expansion of the trunk infrastructure.
– In 2021, this amount will be almost 650 billion rubles, in 2022 – 777 billion rubles, and in 2023 – more than 900 billion, – said the head of the budget committee.
The amendments also distribute money for the modernization of primary health care, regional and social supplements to pensions, in addition, the volume of subventions to regional budgets is being restored, he added. The adjustments distributed interbudgetary transfers by almost 1.5 trillion rubles for 2021 alone.
– This means that the regions will receive funds ahead of schedule. By the third reading, we will set the task of concluding all agreements with the regions in due time, so that the money will be earned immediately – from January 1, – Andrey Makarov assured.
The draft budget provides for an increase in revenues from 18.7 trillion rubles in 2021 to 20.6 trillion in 2022 and 22.2 trillion in 2023. Spending will increase from 21.5 trillion to 21.8 trillion and 23.6 trillion, respectively. The result is a deficit of 2.4% of GDP in 2021, 1% of GDP in 2022 and 1.1% of GDP in 2023.
At the plenary session, the State Duma considered some amendments, which the committee rejected, and held a separate vote on them. However, the procedure did not change the final picture – in the end, none of the MPs’ proposals was accepted. For example, Vera Ganzia, a representative of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, took the initiative to increase the supply of tomographs to the regions, spending 30 billion rubles from the government’s reserve fund.
– Where can I find specialists who will serve them? A tomograph without a specialist is a pile of scrap metal, though very expensive, ”retorted Andrei Makarov.
A large discussion was devoted to financing the development of the Far East. LDPR deputy Andrei Andreichenko drew attention to the crisis situation in Primorye, where a snow cyclone passed last week. The parliamentarian said that the region already needs additional federal funds. He proposed to increase funding by 1 billion annually for the centers of economic entities of the Far Eastern Federal District, as well as the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East.
A heated discussion also developed on the topic of subsidized housing for young families. Communist Party deputy Tamara Pletneva proposed to increase funding for this article by 40.5 billion, arguing that the lack of housing destroys families.
It all depends on the pandemic
Experts interviewed by Izvestia gave a positive assessment of the adopted amendments. The presence in the draft budget of such areas of spending as social support, stimulating employment, infrastructure spending and assistance to regional budgets can only be welcomed, said Andrey Piskunov, Managing Director of the NKR Rating Agency. They meet the needs of the national economy in the context of the economic crisis and pandemic, the expert explained.
– Separately, it is worth noting the allocation of 1.5 trillion rubles for interbudgetary transfers. In 2020, the regional treasury faced a significant decrease in tax revenues, and while a sharp increase in the debt burden has been avoided, in 2021 an increase in deficits is inevitable., – Andrey Piskunov is sure.
The allocated money will make the budget deficit of the constituent entities more controllable, the expert explained. However, it should be remembered that the main financial document is adopted in an environment of high uncertainty. If the pandemic cannot be stopped in the first half of 2021, the budget may be subject to correction, warned Andrey Piskunov.
The weak side of the adopted project is the centralization of funds from the federal government, as well as an increase in the revenue side of the budget due to the tightening of fiscal policy and tax administration, says Freedom Finance analyst Yevgeny Mironyuk. At the same time, its strong feature was its great opportunities to support the economy, provided by the growth of spending and borrowing. However, if the situation with the incidence does not improve at the beginning of 2021, the effect of an increase in budget spending will be leveled, the expert concluded.