BUSINESS BRIEFS

Budget passed in record speed

Parliament approved the state budget for 2003 in a record two days of debate, setting a deficit target of Sk57.6 billion ($1.4 billion) for next year, or 4.9 per cent of GDP, well down from this year's expected deficit of 7.7 per cent of GDP.

All 78 of the ruling coalition's MPs in the 150-seat house voted in favour. Rather than run expenditures up with new demands as in past years, MPs this year trimmed the cabinet's spending figure by Sk700 million ($16.7 million).

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