The cabinet does not rule out a possible correction in the budget deficit, if necessary.
Finance Minister Ján Počiatek admitted that economic growth projected in the budget could shrink and that this could lead to a change in the planned deficit. "I would theoretically admit possible flexibility of the deficit as such," the Počiatek said following the cabinet session on October 22.
Prime Minister Robert Fico, however, said he would give priority to preserving the planned deficit and would instead prefer cuts in sectors that have reserves. He reiterated that if cuts were inevitable, the Cabinet would certainly not seek reserves in sources earmarked for social programmes but in the budget of the Defence Ministry or in ministries’ procurement budgets.
The opposition and analysts have pointed out in recent days that the macroeconomic basis of the draft budget, which counts on economic growth of 6.5 percent next year, is optimistic because of the ongoing global financial crisis. Banks have revised their 2009 economic growth prognoses downwards to 4.5 percent on average. SITA
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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