Significant increase in education and health budgets for 2005
Campaign News | Tuesday, 28 December 2004
Welfare gets the benefit of positive growth in 2004
Havana 24 Dec - FOR 2005, 68% of the state budget spending is to be directed to raising the levels of education, public health, social security, culture, sports and science and technology, announced Georgina Barreiro, minister of finance and prices, on presenting the draft budget law to deputies.
She emphasized that our country is showing the world that it is possible to increase spending directed at raising the living standards of the population when all the human and material resources of society are placed at the service of the people.
The minister stated that budget expenditure in 2004 was more than 1.5 million pesos higher than that of 2003, due to the growth in expenditure on education and health programs by 527 million pesos. Social security expenditure likewise increased by 234 million pesos.
Funding for housing maintenance and repairs grew by 120 million pesos, particularly in the case of buildings damaged by hurricanes in Habana and Pinar del Río provinces and the special municipality of the Isle of Youth.
While the costs planned within the 2004 budget increased for the reasons given, the estimated income was met with a total of 19.512 billion pesos, an increase of 1.964 billion in relation to 2003.
The 2004 budget deficit is calculated at 1.424 billion pesos. However, despite this increase, it remains at 3.5% of the GDP.
On presenting the budget program for 2005, the finance minister stated that 4.117 billion pesos has been set aside to continue developing the new educational projects, an increase of 11.3% in relation to that estimated for the end of 2004. This growth will allow for the expenditure required to cover the significant changes that have taken place in kindergarten, elementary and intermediate education, including larger numbers of students and teachers and salary increases.
Schools snacks are guaranteed throughout 2005 in all the country’s junior high schools and the stipend for students at Higher Teacher Training Institutes is also to be raised.
In order to maintain the current public health programs and support new projects 2.355 billion pesos have been set aside, an increase of 9.4 % on 2004. This sum is to guarantee the new services basically established in the last year, which require larger budgets. The availability of medicines is to be augmented, including special and latest-generation drugs.
In the social security sector, 2.036 billion is directed to cover pensions, 147 million more than that estimated for 2004, with a growth of almost 7%.
Barreiro criticized the work undertaken to control financial resources in both enterprises and the budgetary units. She affirmed that the budget agencies must develop more rigorous controls over their expenditure.
The minister announced the beginning last March of the gradual implementation of so-called municipal treasuries in charge of administering expenditure at local level.
With these municipal treasuries the budget units no longer directly operate accounts in the national banking system, given their centralization in one sole account, held by the corresponding municipal treasurer.
The budget units ask the municipal treasurer for each payment and these are only made when the established regulations have been fully met.
In 2005, this experience is to be extended throughout the country’s municipalities, thus advancing the centralization of national subordinate budgets in order to create a Central Treasury.