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KIEV, December 6 (Itar-Tass) — Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada or parliament on Thursday endorsed the country’s state budget for 2013 that was elaborated by the Nikolai Azarov government. As many as 242 lawmakers voted in favor of the budget, with 226 voted needed to pass it.
The budgetary deficit in 2013 is fixed at 50.4 billion hryvnas (6.3 billion U.S. dollars), or 3.2 percent of the forecasted nominal GDP (1.576 trillion hryvnas). In 2012, the state budget deficit was 25.1 billion hryvnas. The GDP growth is fixed at 3.4 percent, inflation – at 4.8 percent. According to the country’s official statistics, GDP growth in 2011 was 5.2 percent. The GDP growth in 2012 was forecasted at 3.9 percent, although it looks like the growth will be zero.
The price for Russian gas is fixed at 421 U.S. dollars per 1,000 cubic meters. The gas price in the 2012 budget was 416 U.S. dollars. Foreign borrowings in 2013 are planned to reach 42.7 billion hryvnas (more than 5.3 billion U.S. dollars), and the upper limit of the public debt is set at 483 billion hryvnas (more than 60 billion U.S. dollars). Apart from that, the government plans to offer state guarantees in 2013 to the sum of 50 billion hryvnas (more than six billion U.S. dollars). Privatization proceeds in 2013 are planned at 10.9 billion hryvnas (1.36 billion U.S. dollars).
The government plans to increase minimal wages in 2013 by 71 hryvnas (approximately nine U.S. dollars). The wages will be raised twice during the year: up to 1,147 hryvnas (143 U.S. dollars) from January 1, and further up to 1,218 hryvnas (152 U.S. dollars) from December 1.
In 2012, minimal wages grew by 61 hryvnas up to 1,134 hryvnas (142 U.S. dollars) in five stages. Ukraine’s average salary in October 2012 was 3,110 hryvnas (about 390 U.S. dollars), or 1.5 percent up on the previous month.
The government’s draft budget came under severe criticism from the opposition, which abstained from budgetary voting. Thus, Arseny Yatsenyuk, chairman of the council of the united opposition party Batkivshchina, said the cabinet sought to hold back social spending growth. “The growth of social spending in the country under the draft budget for 2013 is six percent, whereas the inflation is fixed at approximately the same level. In other words, the actual growth of social standards is practically equal to zero,” he stressed.