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Resume: According to the Batumi Municipality’s 2021 budget, the estimated expenses for labour remuneration are poised to rise. In the initial version of the 2020 budget, expenses for labour remuneration were set at GEL 23,573,000. Given the pandemic-induced situation, the financial document was amended and labour remuneration expenses increased to GEL 24,614,500. In 2021, budget expenses for this purpose are planned to be GEL 25,115,500. The increment constitutes GEL 501,000 as compared to the final draft of 2020.

The expenses for goods and services are set to rise by GEL 1,233,000 in next year’s budget – GEL 39,754,400 were allocated for this purpose. The author of the statement made reference to the total estimated expenses for labour remuneration and goods and services when speaking about comfort and compared this figure to the final planned figures of 2020. Therefore, administrative expenses (labour remuneration together with expenses for goods and services) indeed increased by GEL 1,700,000 or, more precisely, by GEL 1,734,000.

If compared to the initial 2020 draft budget, the increase in appropriations for healthcare and social security in the 2021 budget is indeed marginal. However, in contrast to Mirdat Kamadadze’s statement, the increase constitutes GEL 584,000 instead of GEL 700,000. As compared to factual figure of the 2019 budget which is GEL 16,376,800, healthcare and social protection expenses in 2021 will be GEL 466,900 less.

Analysis

Politician Mirdat Kamadadze stated that in accordance with Batumi’s 2021 budget, the self-government is increasing its own comfort, meaning that expenses allocated for labour remuneration as well as for goods and services rise by GEL 1,700,000 whilst healthcare expenses are set to decrease if compared to 2019’s figure and are GEL 700,000 more as compared to those of 2020.

FactCheck verified accuracy of the statement.

FactCheck has already published an article on Batumi’s 2021 budget. Whilst analysing budget parameters, FactCheck noted that the revenues and the expenditures of the 2021 budget have significantly decreased as compared to the initial draft of the 2020 budget. However, there is a growth in revenues and a decrease in expenditures if compared to the final planned indicators which are offset by changes in the budget balance.

Table 1: Estimated Figures of Revenues and Expenditures of Batumi’s 2021 Budget

Source: Ordinance of Batumi City Council on Batumi’s 2021 Budget

Although expenses have decreased significantly, expenses for labour remuneration as well as for goods and services are planned to rise. More precisely, the initial draft budget for 2020 planned to allocate GEL 23,573,000 for labour remuneration and GEL 41,667,400 for goods and services. Given the pandemic-induced reality, the budget was amended. The expenses for goods and services did decrease, although expenses for labour remuneration increased.

Table 2: Expenses in Batumi’s 2021 Budget

Source: Ordinance of Batumi City Council on Batumi’s 2021 Budget

If we follow the logic of the author of the statement, Mirdat Kamadadze compares the total sum of the final planned figures of the 2020 budget and the total sum of the estimated planned figures of the 2021 budget. This means that considering the final parameters of the 2020 budget, administrative expenses (labour remuneration together with expenses for goods and services) amounted to GEL 63,135,900 whilst they will be GEL 64,869,900 in 2021 which is GEL 1,734,000 more. However, if compared to initial draft of the 2020 budget, there are plans to spend GEL 370,500 less for this purpose in 2021 (Mr Kamadadze was not referring to those figures and FactCheck only highlights them for information).

One more detail: There are plans to increase the number of employees in the next year. In accordance with the final draft of the 2020 budget, appropriations for labour remuneration were intended for 2,585 individuals whilst 2,622 employees (permanent staff workers) will have labour remuneration in 2021.

Given the pandemic-induced crisis, the budget expenses which are allocated for healthcare and social security programmes/sub-programmes are subject to particular scrutiny from the population. In the 2021 budget, GEL 15,909,900 are allocated for this purpose. This is significantly less as compared to 2019 and slightly more as compared to the initial draft of the 2020 budget unveiled by Batumi City Hall.

Table 3: Healthcare and Social Security Expenses Planned in Batumi’s 2021 Budget

Source: Ordinance of Batumi City Council on Batumi’s 2021 Budget

As shown in Table 2, appropriations for healthcare and social security were lower in the 2020 budget as compared to 2019 and they were further cut as a result of the amendments. The planned amount in 2021 is GEL 466,900 less as compared to the factual figure of 2019. However, the appropriations for healthcare and social security increased by GEL 584,000 and GEL 1,414,900, respectively, as compared to both the initial and the final drafts of the 2020 budget.


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