ECONOMIC BRIEFS

Cabinet at odds over budget draft for 2000

The Slovak cabinet adjourned on October 13 with no agreement over the working draft of the 2000 state budget, which had been prepared by Finance Minister Brigita Schmögnerová. The main objections to the proposal came from Defence Minister Pavol Kanis (who was the first to storm out of the meeting), Education Minister Milan Ftáčnik and Health Minister Tibor Šagát, all of whom are demanding that their ministries receive more money.

According to the draft, the budget deficit should be 18 billion Slovak crowns next year, which is less than 2% of projected GDP. The deficit of public finances should be below 3.7% of GDP, which is expected in the year 2000 to grow by 2.5%. Inflation is set at 10%, and unemployment between 16% and 17%.

The government is set to meet again on October 20 to continue negotiations. Progress on the budget is being watched closely by the World Bank and the IMF, both of which will be sending missions to Slovakia in the near future.

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