Govt. to debate budget draft Tuesday?

The government looks set to discuss the 2009 budget proposal, slammed by analysts as "not restrictive enough", as early as Tuesday.

Source: B92, Beta, Tanjug

On Monday, the government's boards will meet for a likely joint session, to give their opinion on the draft. If agreement is reached on the document's details, it could be sent to the government on Tuesday.

And while the ministries whose incomes have been decreased complain that this was "an even cut", arguing that all budget users cannot be deprived of the funds in the same manner, economic analysts and experts say that the budget is not restrictive enough.

Earlier in the day, reports said that the draft budget for 2009 was prepared by the Finance Ministry, while the government might adopt it at its next session, on Thursday.

The document proposes income of RSD 715bn, with spending of RSD 761bn, meaning that the budget deficit would stand at 1.5 percent of the GDP – as recommended by the IMF.

The government is yet to officially confirm today that it received the draft.

B92 has learned that the budget cuts down expenses in all the ministries from 10 to 15 percent.

The new budget will not subsidize new jobs within the ministries, which in effect means that no new officials and workers will be employed by the government in 2009.

Economy Professor Pavle Petrović says that this sketchy information revealed so far shows that "the government took into account" the IMF recommendations.

However, he says that Vojvodina's and municipal budgets remains to be seen, and says that in order for the deal with that international organization to be fully honored, those local budget must also be balanced.

"Then the overall state deficit will be 1.5 percent of the GDP, as agreed with the IMF," Petrović commented.

The government is almost a month overdue with approving the budget and sending it to parliament, which then must pass it by Dec. 15.


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