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Finance Ministry okays EXIM Bank's budget

The Finance Ministry approved the 1999 budget of the EXIM Bank on February 25. The bank's costs for this year should total 464 million Sk, while its revenues are projected at 567.5 million Sk, leaving the bank with a 1999 net profit of 103.4 million Sk.

EXIM Bank was established in July 1997 to provide loans and credit guarantees for Slovak importers and exporters. Its registered capital is 2.3 billion Sk.

According to the bank's draft budget, which now requires the approval of parliament, EXIM Bank can provide export and import loans and guarantees for business worth 9.35 billion Sk this year. Simultaneously, the bank can insure 14.39 billion Sk in exports.

Finance Ministry spokesman Peter Švec said that the EXIM Bank budget provides for a 23% drop in the average monthly wage of its employees over last year's salaries. In mid-February, the Ministry refused to pass the first version of EXIM Bank's budget, mainly because it set such high payroll costs and did not make sufficient cuts in the bank's work force. The new budget draft proposes big wage and job cuts.

EXIM Bank's 1999 payroll costs should total 58.7 million Sk, while the average monthly salary (excluding the salaries of the bank's governor and vice-governor) is expected to be 23,000 Sk. This year the bank will reduce the number of its employees by one-third to 115. EXIM Bank will cut its advertising, promotion and travel costs as well.

In Švec's words, EXIM Bank will see no money from the state this year.

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