By Aynur Karimova
The Azerbaijani Parliament has adopted amendments to the state budget of Azerbaijan for 2016.
The amendments to the budget were adopted at the plenary session of the parliament on February 23.
Addressing the session Finance Minister Samir Sharifov said amendments to the state budget of the country were designed based on two factors.
The first factor, according to him, is the decline of oil prices for more than four times in the past 18 months, which sharply reduced the projected revenues of the state and consolidated budgets.
The second factor, Sharifov added, was the devaluation of Azerbaijan's national currency, the manat, in December 2015 and transition to a floating exchange rate of the national currency, which led to the disparity of expenditures denominated in foreign currency.
Vugar Gulmammadov, the Chairman of the Accounting Chamber of Azerbaijan, believes that the actual deficit of the state budget for 2016 may be less than the projected amount, if it is possible to maximally use the potential and improve the quality of tax and customs administration and so on.
While delivering speech in the Azerbaijani parliament, he said the state budget should be fulfilled more transparently and consistently.
"It is important to ultimately ensure the effectiveness of expenditures of the state budget, which is the main driving force of GDP growth and the economy," he added.
Under the amendments, the budget revenues are projected at 16.822 billion manats ($10.775 billion), while budget expenditures at 18.495 billion manats ($11.847 billion).
The budget deficit will amount to 1.673 billion manats ($1.072 billion). Thus, the revenue part of the state budget will be increased by 15.5 percent, while the expenditure part 13.7 percent.
Income from the non-oil sector in the revenue part of the budget is projected at 7.597 billion manats ($4.867 billion).
Transfers from the Taxes Ministry will increase by 6.2 percent to 7.01 billion manats ($4.49 billion), and the State Customs Committee by 13.8 percent to 1.8 billion manats ($1.153 billion).
Other budget revenues will amount to 75 million manats ($48.04 million).
The parameters of the state budget were revised given the price of oil at $25 per barrel. Forecasts of the approved budget were based on oil prices of $50 per barrel.
Earlier, the budget revenues for 2016 were projected at 14.566 billion manats ($9.33 billion), while budget expenditures - at 16.264 billion manats ($10.418 billion).
The budget deficit was approved in the amount of 1.698 billion manats ($1.088 billion).
The revenues of the consolidated budget are expected to reach 15.739 billion manats ($10.081 billion).
The parameters of the state and consolidated budgets were revised given the price of oil at $25 per barrel.
The parliament also adopted amendments to the budget of the State Social Protection Fund for 2016.
The revenues and expenditures of the State Social Protection Fund for 2016 are expected to increase by 7.4 percent exceeding 3.307 billion manats ($2.12 billion).
The official exchange rate on February 22 was 1.5612 AZN/USD.
Aynur Karimova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Aynur_Karimova
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