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IN SHORT

NBS criticizes government over budget

IVAN Šramko, the governor of the National Bank of Slovakia (NBS), has objections to the cabinet's proposed public administration budget for 2007.

"The budget is not as restrictive as it needs to be in order to achieve our monetary goals," Šramko said in an interview with the Hospodárske noviny daily.

Although the governor acknowledged that the budgetary framework the cabinet had committed to calls for a gradual decrease in the budget deficit to enable Slovakia join the eurozone in 2009 as planned, budget expenditures are increasing too fast, he said, while "the deficit could be lower".

Economists consider the governor's approach towards the government as positive.

"The bank is continuing in the approach it took under the previous government, with encouragement to cut the budget deficit faster. The markets are happy that the NBS' approach has not changed," said Ján Tóth, chief economist with ING Bank.

According to the Finance Ministry, however, there is no room for further budgetary restrictions.

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