The Government of Georgia has submitted an updated draft budget for 2021 to the Parliament. According to the document, the state budget volume will increase by 2.46 billion GEL compared to 2020, and it has increased to 18.38 billion GEL.
In 2021, the government plans to direct the most budget resources to the Ministry of Health, whose budget will increase by 48 million GEL, and it will reach 5.56 billion GEL. The new law conditions the pension index budget increase, which will increase the old-age pension from January 1. Due to the "lockdown" imposed in the country, the budget will also finance 100 lari benefits for the socially vulnerable for 6 months.
The government has earmarked GEL 800 million for the universal healthcare program. Still, it is important to note that both in 2020 and in previous years, this program's budget expired prematurely, and the government needed to raise funds for it. GEL 802 million was the budget for the universal healthcare program in 2020. However, it expired in November, and the government added GEL 95 million.
The draft budget of the Ministry of Health is as follows:
"Social protection of the population - 3,839.9 million GEL, which is increased by 260.5 million GEL compared to the previous budget submission, including:
Pension provision - GEL 2,600.0 million has not changed compared to the previous submissions (increased by GEL 370.0 million compared to the approved plan for 2020), which is due to the introduction of state pension index for the population of retirement age, based on economic parameters. In particular, the draft law from January 1, 2021, provides for an increase of pension for pensioners under 70 years of age by 20 GEL and is set at 240 GEL, and for pensioners aged 70 or over, the pension is increased by 25 GEL and is set at 275 GEL;
Social assistance to target groups of the population - GEL 816.0 million, which is increased by GEL 8.4 million compared to the previous submission, and GEL 23.0 million compared to the approved plan;
Social benefits in highland settlements - 66.3 million GEL;
Due to the deterioration of the socio-economic situation caused by the new coronavirus, an additional GEL 250.0 million was reflected in the budget for social assistance to the population, amounting to GEL 310.0 million:
Continuation of the measures envisaged by the social package launched this year in connection with COVID-19. In particular, the allocation for subsidizing utility bills for the population is 60 million GEL;
65 000 - 100 000 points for socially vulnerable families, as well as for socially vulnerable families with 3 or more children and for children with severe disabilities - 100.0 million GEL;
GEL 200 assistance to persons dismissed due to pandemic for 6 months - GEL 150.0 million;
Health protection of the population - 1 548.6 million GEL, which is an increase of 444.6 million GEL compared to previous budget submissions, and 182.3 million GEL compared to the previous year. The following amounts determined the allocation of some of these programs:
GEL 400.0 million will be mobilized for COVID-19-related health services in the draft budget for 2021;
Universal health care of the population - 800.0 million GEL, which is increased by 40.0 million GEL compared to the previous submission;
Immunization - up to 28.0 million GEL;
Tuberculosis management - up to 17.2 million GEL;
HIV / AIDS management - up to 14.1 million GEL;
Hepatitis C management - 7.0 million GEL;
Epidemiological supervision - 2.2 million GEL, which is 500.0 thousand GEL more than the previous submissions;
Mental health - 28.9 million GEL;
Dialysis and kidney transplantation - 40.4 million GEL;
Provision of primary and emergency medical care - 121.4 million GEL;
Referral service - 25.0 million GEL;
Treatment of patients with drug addiction - 12.2 million GEL;
Diabetes Management - 16.0 million GEL, which is an increase of 1.0 million GEL compared to previous submissions;
Rehabilitation and equipping of medical institutions - 30.0 million GEL;
Labor and Employment Reform Program - GEL 8.9 million, which is an increase of GEL 2.0 million compared to the previous submission, mainly to support labor inspection measures;
"Assistance to IDPs and migrants - 71.8 million GEL," the draft budget says.