PRAGUE (Reuters) – The Czech government approved the 2023 central state budget draft with a deficit of 295 billion crowns ($11.5 billion), above a previously debated target of 270 billion crowns, Finance Minister Zbynek Stanjura said on Monday.
The rise includes higher spending on social support in light of Europe’s energy crisis, including caps on energy prices for households and small companies, as well as an increase in defence spending and investments into infrastructure, he said.
The budget is the main part of the system of public sector finances. The Finance Ministry has not given an estimate of the overall fiscal balance for next year in percentage of gross domestic product (GDP). The 295 billion figure itself would represent around 4% of GDP.
This year’s budget deficit target has been raised to 330 billion crowns form originally planned 270 billion.
The 295 billion figure for 2023, while higher than previous plans, matches an early budget outlook revealed in June.
The draft budget is subject to approval by the lower house of parliament, where the centre-right government has a comfortable majority.
($1 = 25.6200 Czech crowns)
(Reporting by Jan Lopatka; Editing by Stephen Coates)