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Government sets aside €332 million for anti-crisis measures

The Slovak government has set aside €332 million for anti-crisis measures and if necessary, the Finance Ministry is ready for further efforts, ministry spokesman Miroslav Šmál told the TASR newswire on Monday, April 20.

The Slovak government has set aside €332 million for anti-crisis measures and if necessary, the Finance Ministry is ready for further efforts, ministry spokesman Miroslav Šmál told the TASR newswire on Monday, April 20.

Šmál was reacting to SMK MP Ivan Farkas's suggestion earlier in the day that the government should introduce stricter austerity measures to deal with the negative effects of the global crisis and to revise the state budget for 2009.

“The government has spent all the state's assets. The state debt is going up and public finances are in a mess ... And what's worse, we can't see any effective proposals for preventing budgetary and financial collapse in Slovakia,” said Farkas.

Šmál noted that most of the state assets were spent on covering the state insurer Sociálna Poisťovňa's deficit, which is related to the private pension savings (second) pillar introduced by the former government.

According to Šmál, the government will do everything in order to keep the public finance deficit under the threshold of 3 percent, as set by the EU's Stability and Growth Pact. The Finance Ministry recently announced that the deficit is projected to stand at 3.04 percent in 2009.

Finance Minister Ján Počiatek said on TV Markíza's political talk-show 'Na telo' on April 19 that his ministry will revise the state budget after it draws up new economic prognoses.

“Of course, we're preparing a revision of the prognosis, which unfortunately, will be directed downwards. No verified data for the first quarter of 2009 exists as yet, however. There are only estimates. It has to be mentioned that in the first quarter the figures were also influenced by the gas crisis (that hit Slovakia in January). The new official prognosis is expected to be released in June,” said Počiatek. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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