Chilean Congress passes proposed 2020 Budget emphasizing Social Agenda
The proposed budget highlights a public transportation subsidy for senior citizens over 65, increased per capita spending on health, and pension increases that would raise the Basic Solidarity Pension and Solidarity Contributions by 50% by 2022.
Treasury Minister Ignacio Briones, along with Budget Director Rodrigo Cerda, expressed satisfaction regarding the approval of the Proposed Budget for next year, which includes a 4.5% increase relative to the 2019 budget, for a total of US$74.153 billion.
Public spending will focus primarily on Education, Work and Health.
Addressing the Senate, the Treasury Minister emphasized the importance of making progress through dialogue while respecting the country’s institutions and the value of democracy.
“We need to send that fundamental signal to the country, to make them see that our democracy takes place here, in Congress,” he said.
With regard to the budget bill, he highlighted the improvements introduced, such as the public transportation subsidy for senior citizens over 65, increased per capita spending on healthcare, and pension increases that would raise the Basic Solidarity Pension and Solidarity Contributions by 50% by 2022.
“We are talking about the biggest change, in terms of foundation as well as funding, since the reform that created the solidarity pension during President Bachelet’s first term. I think it is something we ought to be proud of. It is an important starting point for the road ahead. Let us try to value what we have achieved here. I value it very strongly,” he said.
The minister also issued a warning regarding the difficult economic situation facing the country. “We have a complex fiscal deficit situation and we must act in a fiscally responsible manner. This fiscal responsibility will mean ensuring that the demanding programs we are launching today are sustainable. If we are not responsible, we could look really good in the short term, but progress would be spurious and we would end up dishonoring the expectations we are creating today. We know very well what happens when one dishonors expectations. That would be a mistake,” he said.
Minister Briones also noted the importance of focusing on improving the use of public funds.
“It is also time that we look together at how to deal differently with our budget. We must ask ourselves the underlying question of how we are spending and how to refocus our priorities. It is a moral duty to ensure that every peso the Chilean people give us effectively reaches those who need it most. We have invited both houses to work together toward this important goal. We must change the inertia and status quo on this issue so that we can address the new, more pressing demands of the people,” stated Minister Briones.