Czech budget could finish 2016 in balance suggests finance minister

By bne IntelliNews September 12, 2016

The Czech budget deficit has a chance to be cut to zero this year, Finance Minister Andrj Babis suggested on September 12.

This year’s budget targets a deficit of CZK70bn (€2.6bn). Finance ministry data, however, has seen the budget posting record surpluses over the past few months. Babis, who recently pushed through a fiercely contested bill to introduce electronic cash registers, credits improved tax collection as the main factor behind the strong revenue growth that is driving the positive balance higher.

The budget produced a surplus of CZK81.2bn as of the end of August, a significant improvement in annual terms from the CZK19bn at which it stood at the end of August 2015. That said, expenditures tend to rise in the closing months of the year, offering the potential to once again force the balance into negative figures. However, estimates still put this year’s deficit well below target at CZK30bn.

Babis, however, suggested a balanced budget might be achieved. “Maybe we can achieve a balanced budget this year, I'll do it to the maximum,” Babis told Tyden weekly in an interview.

The government will meet on September 12 to debate next year’s budget, which currently targets a deficit of CZK60bn. Budget expenditures are projected at CZK1.305tn, above the CZK1.251tn approved for 2016. Revenues are set to increase to CZK1.245tn from CZK1.181tn. 

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