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ECONOMIC BRIEFS

Slovakia to borrow 6.7 billion crowns for highway construction

Minister of Transport Gabriel Palacka said on March 24 that Slovakia would borrow 6.7 billion crowns ($165 million) from abroad for highway construction in 1999.

"In the first place, we will negotiate with international institutions such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank and the World Bank, because these usually offer the best conditions," Palacka told a news conference.

"However, we cannot rule out that some portion of the loans will be covered also from private banks," the minister added.

Palacka said the Slovak government was forced to revise the original highway construction timetable set by the previous government. "The plan to finish the Slovak highway network by the year 2005 was an unrealistic bubble," Palacka said.

The government of Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda that came to power last year has said it will cut back on

capital spending to help to cut the budget deficit to two percent from over five percent of gross domestic product.

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