Government increasingly uses special appropriations to fund Health and Education


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The Court of Auditors revealed today that the use of special appropriations almost doubled between 2019 and 2022, being used mainly to respond to under-budgeted expenses in Education and Health, warning that this distorts the objective of budgetary management.

The data is contained in the Court of Auditors’ opinion on the General State Account (CGE) for 2022, delivered today to Parliament, which highlights that the funds have been used to meet needs, above all, in the areas of education (staff costs) and health (namely to reduce arrears).

“There has been an increase in the use of special appropriations in the Ministry of Finance’s budget which, during the year, are mainly used to cover under-budgeted expenditure in Education and Health,” the opinion states.

The TdC points out that the use of these appropriations to reinforce others rose from 760 million euros in 2019 to 1,506 million euros in 2022.

“This practice goes against the principle of specification, reduces the usefulness of forecasting expenditure by budget programs and distorts the purpose of these budget management instruments,” he warns.

For the Court of Auditors, “the intended effect of controlling and limiting expenditure could be undermined, since this type of use has not only been intended for situations of an exceptional and unforeseeable nature, but also to overcome recurring limitations in the budgeting process”.

In contradiction, the opinion states that the Ministry of Finance explains that “the increase in provisional and centralized appropriations in 2021 and 2022 is intrinsically related to the enormous uncertainty generated by the covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the consequent increase in price levels”.

“It is understood that, at these times, safety margins must be created to allow budget execution to take place with the greatest possible stability,” he argues.

However, the TdC considers that “the use that is occurring, again in 2022 and in increasing amounts, to cover costs that should be known and duly budgeted, particularly in the aforementioned areas of education and health, does not eliminate the Court’s criticism of the use of this appropriation to make up for shortcomings in the budgetary process or as a means of containing expenditure”.

The institution chaired by José Tavares points out that the provisional appropriation – of 564 million euros and intended to cover “exceptional, unforeseeable and unavoidable expenditure” – was used mainly to reinforce under-budgeted appropriations, including expenditure on education staff (220 million euros).

The opinion also points out that the centralized appropriation for the “settlement of liabilities and investment of assets” (433 million euros), entered under financial assets (with no impact on the balance), was used to reinforce actual health and social security expenditure (with an impact on the balance).

Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi, CEO and founder of Portugal Pulse, has led career that spans multiple continents and industries. Born in Paris and later immigrating to Tel Aviv, Israel, Moti's background uniquely positions him at the intersection of European and Middle Eastern cultures. He holds a Law License from Ono College, reflecting his multifaceted interests in law, media, technology, and culture.    Moti's love affair with Portugal began in 2016 when he founded EASY NATIONALITY, an immigration office focused on aiding the Sephardic community in the wake of Portugal's law of return for Sephardic Jews. This endeavor demonstrated his commitment to creating meaningful social and cultural bridges.    In 2018, he launched Hadshot Portugal, the first-ever news website about Portugal in Hebrew. Recognizing the importance of bringing Portuguese culture and news to a broader audience, Moti took the step of immigrating to Lisbon in 2023, where he founded both Portugal Pulse and Portugal France. These platforms aim to offer comprehensive coverage of Portuguese news, events, and culture to the English and French-speaking worlds, respectively.    Moti's vision extends beyond news dissemination. He aspires to be an ambassador for Portuguese culture and to strengthen the connections among Portuguese diaspora communities worldwide. In pursuit of this ambitious goal, Moti founded Aliança Portugueses in 2021. Through this initiative, he aims to bring together Portuguese communities, creating a network of individuals and organizations bound by their love for Portugal.

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