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ECONOMIC BRIEFS

Slovak Parliament approves budget of National Privatization Agency

The Slovak Parliament has approved the draft budget of the National Privatization Fund (FNM) for 1999. Total revenues of the FNM should be 3.26 billion crowns, while total expenditures are projected at 3.73 billion crowns. The FNM is projected to have a deficit of 470 million crowns at the end of this year.

The cumulative deficit reaches far higher when last year's deficit of 2.36 billion crowns and guarantees maturing this year are added, bringing the total to 3.06 billion crowns. The FNM deficit is also expected to deepen due to the FNM's obligation to repay 228 million crowns to the Finance Ministry in order to settle instalments of the loan of Solivary, a.s., Prešov, towards a bank syndicate.

The FNM's total revenues will consist of 2.47 billion crowns from already signed contracts, 200 million crowns from newly concluded contracts, 130 million crowns in dividends, 214 million crowns from time deposits should be, and 250 million crowns from a transfer from a special account of the Privatization Ministry. Unsettled claims from 1998 of 2.36 billion crowns should constitute the biggest portion of the FNM's total spending in 1999.

The FNM will have to cope with serious liquidity problems in 1999 due in part to overly-optimistic revenues projections in previous years. The FNM stated that the situation cannot be solved exclusively by new sales, and as a result is looking towards longer-term borrowing abroad.

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