Your “receipt” for the state budget of Ukraine, 2013: How to understand state budget

“In 2013, consolidated budget revenues reached 442.7 billion UAH, or 30.4% of GDP, while pension fund revenues alone were 166.9 billion UAH, or 11.5% of GDP.” When it comes to public funds and the government budget, this seems to be about all we get from those in charge of allocating our tax money. Thus, how is someone with a monthly income of around 2000 – 3000 UAH meant to go about understanding these gargantuan economic figures? After all, just one billion UAH would constitute 28,000 years of hard labor for the average Ukrainian employee!

While it may seem that all of these horrendously complex figures are somewhat inaccessible to the average citizen, it turns out that they can be expressed quite simply in a manner familiar to all – as the taxes we pay every day when we purchase goods or receive wages from work. In 2013, for example, a Ukrainian taxpayer with an income of 2,700 UAH per month would have paid 30,908 UAH into the above-mentioned state budget. This payment to the state comprises of VAT levied on everyday goods and services, social security contribution to the pension fund automatically deducted from income, and, of course, simple income tax. Therefore, in this manner we can “translate” and hence attain a deeper understanding of the meaning of the foreign-sounding figures provided to us by the Ministry of Finance.

To this end, the given report from CASE is dedicated to achieving such an understanding of the state budget of Ukraine – an understanding that is accessible to all citizens. While this is merely a preliminary step in the process of ensuring that budgetary figures and economic awareness are available to all, we at CASE hope to create an informed electorate and thus arm Ukrainian civil society with the necessary tools to proactively hold its elected officials accountable in the fight against corrupt budgetary practices.

For further information regarding the implementation of economic policy in the last year, please see CASE Ukraine’s “Your Receipt for 2013, or How to Understand State Budget” (in Ukrainian).