Igor Yefremov, a Researcher of the International Research Department of Political Demography and Macrodynamics at the Gaidar Institute, commented to RBC on the proposal of the Ministry of Finance to cut the expenditures for maternity capital in 2024-2026.

The Ministry of Finance has proposed to reduce the estimate of forecasted expenditure on maternity capital in 2024-2026 by 17%. Thus, the reduction in the transfer for this purpose could amount to Rb356 bn compared to the current budget law. In 2023, the amount of Rb 551.3bn is allocated for payment of maternity capital. In 2024, there will be Rb516.3 bn (minus Rb109.7 bn planned to be saved). In 2025, the transfer will be reduced by Rb132.7 bn. The total amount will amount to Rb561.5 bn. In 2026 it is planned to cut Rb113.7 bn (total transfer is Rb608.3 bn). The Ministry of Labor noted that in any case all applications received from people to dispose of maternity capital funds will be satisfied.

As explained earlier by the Accounts Chamber, forecasting of expenditures on maternity capital is based on a number of data in the medium term: the birth rate forecast, the number of certificates for which maternity capital funds were not used or partially used, the results of maternity capital granting in previous years. Taking into account that maternity capital funds are used only on a declarative basis, it is practically impossible to forecast expenditures for the next fiscal year with 100% accuracy.

Meanwhile, the birth rate forecast for the coming years is one of the factors that determine the budgeted amount of maternity capital payments. Igor Yefremov believes that in the near future the negative trends in the birth rate will continue. “From 2024 to 2026, with the economic and political situation unchanged, the birth rate in Russia will continue to decline slowly, remaining in a corridor between the medium and low scenarios of the Rosstat demographic forecast. The total birth rate will be between 1.3 and 1.4 births per woman of childbearing age, and the number of births will be between 1.1 and 1.2 million,” he predicted.