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ECONOMIC BRIEFS

Japan plans to offer $90 million loan for Slovak roads

The Japanese government plans to provide a $90 million loan to Slovakia through its Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund (OECF), to finance part of Slovakia's highway construction program, OECF officials said on May 7. "We hope to reach a final agreement in the near future," OECF Chairman Akiru Nishigaki told journalists after a meeting with Slovak Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar in Bratislava. Although the interest rate and the maturity of the loan have already been agreed upon, Nishigaki said he would not disclose details. "I can only tell you that the conditions are very favorable... and the maturity is very long," Nishigaki said. On March 27, Japan notified the Slovak government that it would provide a loan not exceeding 11,094 million Yen through the OECF. The loan would finance the completion of the motorway network surrounding the Slovak capital Bratislava. Overall costs for Slovakia's motorways program are predicted to reach around 10 to 12 billion crowns ($292 million to $351 million) in 1998.

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