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2009 Budget Deficit Lower Than Planned

Ljubljana, 13 January (STA) - The budget deficit for 2009 as a share of GDP will be nearly 0.2 percentage points lower than initially planned, at 4.8% of GDP, Finance Ministry officials told the press on Wednesday.

A deficit of over EUR 1.8bn or 5% of GDP was planned in the crisis budget adopted in September, but the actual number is lower by nearly EUR 100m, at EUR 1.73bn, according to the ministry's preliminary estimates.

The crisis budget adopted in late July 2009 had envisaged EUR 7.92bn in revenues and EUR 9.76bn in expenditure.

While expenditure was up by EUR 790m on 2008, revenues fell by nearly EUR 1bn in the same period, resulting in a massive increase in the budget gap, Alenka Bratusek of the Finance Ministry explained.

Bratusek added that despite the general spending cuts, the government managed to increase spending on the promotion of enterprise and science and technology (up by 12% and 27.3%).

According to her, Slovenia also managed to draw EUR 230m more from the EU than a year before. It also offset some of the EUR 1.1bn drop in tax revenues by collecting EUR 200m in excise duties.

The general government deficit by EU standards, which includes all public purses, meanwhile stood at 5.9%, Bratusek said. The European Commission had forecast a 6.3% budget deficit for Slovenia in November.

Finance Minister Franc Krizanic announced that the government was planning to adopt a supplementary budget for 2010 in April to accommodate the EUR 250m state-sponsored capital injection at Slovenia's largest bank, NLB.

In order to bring in extra revenue this year, Krizanic announced that the government was planning to raise excise duties on tobacco, while it was also thinking about raising environmental taxes on certain fuels.

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