Abkhazia on Provisional Spending amid Delayed Budget Adoption

Russian occupied Abkhazia has gone on provisional spending for the time being as the legislature could not adopt the 2022 budget through the end of the previous year.

Sokhumi-based Apsnypress reported on January 11 that the Kremlin-backed authorities are able to spend up to one-twelfth of the 2021 budget’s total appropriations per month. That would be RUB 767 million (USD 10.3 million) monthly at most.

The delayed 2022 draft budget cleared only the first hearing at the legislature, during its last 2021 session on December 29. It sets 2022 revenues at RUB 9.43 billion (USD 126.6 million), expenditures at RUB 9.98 billion (USD 134 million), while the deficit amounts to RUB 554.2 million (USD 7.44 million).

The Russian financial aid for social and economic development is expected to equal RUB 4.38 billion (USD 58.7 million), while RUB 1.35 billion (USD 18.6 million) will be allocated for implementing the 2020-2022 investment program.

The non-budgetary funds meanwhile envisage allotting RUB 1.29 billion (USD 17.2 million) to the pension fund; RUB 166 million (USD 2.23 million) for the fund for the disabled veterans; RUB 122 million (USD 1.64 million) for social insurance and labor protections; RUB 45.5 million (USD 610 thousand) for medical insurance; RUB 209.3 million (USD 2.8 million) for “repatriation” fund; RUB 115 million (USD 1.5 million) for roads.

The budget proposal came under the lawmakers’ fire in the first hearing. RFE/RL’s Russian-language Ekho Kavkaza reported that one of the proposed expenses that vexed Abkhaz lawmakers was paying RUB 55 million (USD 737 thousand) to Russian investor Mikhail Panov for compensating losses incurred after a conflict with his Abkhaz partners.

Lawmaker Natalie Smyr argued that the law did not obligate the authorities to do so. She hinted at potential corruption, questioning if the payment was “a help to a friend at the expense of a state budget.”

She also slammed “finance minister” Vladimir Delba for tabling the draft to the legislature on December 2, a month later than the November 1 deadline.

The adoption of Abkhazia’s budget was hampered in 2021 as well. Voted down in the first hearing, it was eventually endorsed on March 31. The preceding year’s budget set revenues at RUB 8.4 billion (USD 111 million) and expenditures at RUB 9.2 billion (USD 121.8 million), with the deficit amounting to RUB 791.8 million (USD 10.5 million).

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