The current government found a depleted larder, an empty and dirty table, and moreover unpaid invoices in the pantry that were left by its predecessor, led by Robert Fico, Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš complained in parliament on Wednesday, August 4. As a result, he said, Slovakia’s 2010 public-finance deficit will blow out to 8 percent of GDP. The budget for 2010 had originally forecast a 5.5-percent deficit, although this was later raised to around 7 percent.
Mikloš, who took the floor during a parliamentary debate on the new government's programme statement, suggested that the government which left office in 2006 – of which he was also finance minister – had left behind a full larder and a fully-laden table.
The Fico government left behind unsettled invoices of €750 million, which is why this year's general government gap is to widen to 8 percent of GDP, Mikloš said. These debts include settlement of health insurance debts for 2009, uncovered losses in the railway transport system for 2009-2010, and unsettled invoices for lawyers, experts, and interpreters, he said. Mikloš then stressed that the Fico government did not suffer from a shortage of money. He said it had had €25 billion more at its disposal over four years than the previous one.
“The government had more money for two and a half years because the economy was growing; and then, after its fall, the government continued spending, closing its eyes to reality, to the detriment of the rocketing debt,” Mikloš said, as quoted by the SITA newswire.
Had the government of Robert Fico remained in power, Slovakia would have faced the threat of following Greece’s path, Mikloš said. The Greek deficit is this year expected to reach 8.7 percent of GDP.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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5. Aug 2010 at 14:00