On Wednesday, 23 November, the session of the Halk Maslahaty of Milli Gengesh (People’s Council of the National assembly) was held under the chairmanship of Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. The main item on the agenda was the discussion of the draft Law on the State Budget for 2023.
Members of the Halk Maslahaty from the regions, Deputy Prime Minister for Financial and Economic Affairs, Minister of Finance and Economy, deputies of the lower house of Parliament attended the meeting.
During his final remarks, Arkadag Berdimuhamedov raised a number of issues directly related to the sufficiency of funding for the social sphere and industrial sectors, envisaged in budget 2023. He also focused on those aspects of the financial system that should be taken into account when preparing a budget plan.
After outlining the key requirements for the State Budget 2023, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov suggested that the draft Law on the State Budget for 2023 be returned to the Mejlis for revision and then submitted for reconsideration to the People’s Council after performing more precise and detailed calculations.
Here are the main points of his speech:
The formation of an effective budget system has a positive impact on economic growth. The country’s budget should be of high quality, meet the requirements of the time, which will allow the people to solve socio-economic tasks, create conditions for the development and implementation of long-term and short-term programs.
When preparing the State Budget, such issues as the prospects for the country’s economic development, foreign exchange reserves, the stability of the national currency, investment policy, and the state of the financial market should be taken into account.
Does the state budget for 2023 allow us to solve the tasks set in the main national programs – the National Program of socio-economic development of Turkmenistan in 2022-2052, “The Program of the President of Turkmenistan for socio-economic development of the country in 2022-2028”, the presidential village program for the period up to 2028.
Currently, control over the incoming funds to the budget is not carried out at the proper level. There are several instances. For example, he task has been put to control the consumption of drinking water, electricity, natural gas by the population, payment for services. This work has started, but has not been completed to the end, in many places this situation still persists –water, electricity, and natural gas meters have not been installed.
It is necessary to identify employees who promote their own interests and apply strict measures to them. Employees engaged in corruption will never have a place among us, Arkadag said.
The Ministry of Finance and Economy should ensure the distribution of budget funds in various areas, their targeted and rational use, but currently this requirement is not being met at the proper level. The allocated funds in some areas are insufficient. At the same time, the allocated funds remain unused in a number of sectors. As a result, many funds are transferred for the coming year, negatively impacting the activities of institutions and businesses. This situation results in a drop in budget revenues.
Is a 10% increase in wages and other benefits sufficient for a decent life for the people? This is an issue that needs to be revisited.
It is necessary to provide in the State Budget for 2023 an increase in funds allocated to young people for special purposes.
There is a need to continue the construction of preschool educational institutions, schools, hospitals, health centers, sports facilities, libraries, cultural centers and residential buildings. The issue of the sufficiency of funds allocated for the construction of planned social and industrial facilities was raised.
Large amounts of budgetary funds are also allocated for the development of the field of science. However, the fundamental difficulty here is a lack of discoveries with specific economic impacts related with the use of the most recent scientific and technological breakthroughs for industrial applications.
– Why does this happen? Is the level of knowledge among Turkmen scientists and young people lower than in any other country? – asked the Chairman of the Hulk Maslahaty Milli Gengesh. He stressed the need to support highly educated youth.
Because of the global scenario, the subject of support for industrial businesses by the country’s financial system and banks is also a priority. It is hard to put up with the problems of transferring payments caused by artificial barriers to the conversion of the national currency into freely circulating foreign currency, as well as the partial utilization of industrial capacities owing to late supply of key raw materials.
In the field of agriculture — Every effort must be made to ensure the efficient and rational use of water. According to the Chairman of the Halk Maslahaty, it is necessary to treat the maintenance of agricultural machinery and equipment in a businesslike manner, because if the necessary measures are not taken, no matter how many seeds, fertilizers, and machinery are purchased, the expected results will not be obtained. These problems should be considered when drafting the State Budget.
The State budget does not provide sufficient funds to support entrepreneurs, increase the volume of products produced in the country. There are not enough allocated funds to ensure food abundance in domestic markets, privatize state facilities and enterprises, create joint-stock companies, and boost the share of the private sector. It is necessary to continue creating new production facilities and jobs.
Another area where spending should be increased is to undertake programs to raise the number of businesses producing import-substituting goods and boost the volume of export-oriented commodities, improve food supply, and establish an electronic industry.
The State Budget does not provide enough measures to address the issues of ensuring employment of the population. As in previous years, the amount of funds allocated to the social sphere from the State Budget should exceed 70 %. ///nCa, 24 November 2022