YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–The Armenian parliament overwhelmingly passed the government’s budget for next year that calls for an almost 25 increase in public spending.
Deputy Finance and Economy Minister Pavel Safarian said that certain changes were made in the 2005 budget–adding that an overwhelming majority of the 315 proposals and amendmen’s put forward by officials are reflected in the final draft.
The government expects to collect a record-high 345.3 billion drams ($712 million) in revenues and spend 394.6 billion drams. This is roughly 5 percent more than was envisaged in the initial version of the bill unveiled by ministers in late October.
The government also plans sizable rises in health care and social expenditures. Officials are keen to stress that the 2005 budget has a "social orientation."
The budgetary parameters–endorsed by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank–are based on government expectations of continued economic growth and improved tax collection.