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Serbia: Budget is balanced, says FinMin

Serbia’s Finance Minister Mirko Cvetković said Sunday, that the state budget is balanced.

Cvetković, however, added that although the budget is realized according to plan, “there is no money for additional wishes, unless savings are made elsewhere”. “There was a slight surplus in the budget in the first two months [of 2008] – lower, calculated according to international methodology, higher, according to ours. I would like to remind you that the planned annual deficit is 14 billion dinar ($270 million), which means that the monthly deficit allowed is at just over one billion dinars,” the outgoing finance minister told the daily Glas Javnosti. The state account on March 26 showed income in the amount of 50.3 billion dinar ($972.4 million), while spending was at 48.6 billion, he added. As for the income from privatizations, Cvetković said it was somewhat lower this year, and generated mostly from the sale of insurer DDOR, although this money was split with Vojvodina. As for the RK Beograd department stores and RTB Bor copper basin, income from these sales in expected to arrive in a couple of months’ time, once creditors, the state being one of the most important, have been paid.

Cvetković reminded that the state this year slated 42.7 billion dinar for Kosovo, and added that this cannot be increased without a rebalancing of the budget, “unless some institutions with jurisdiction over Kosmet, or any other institution in Serbia, makes savings, and then redirect this money to the southern province”.

Some 33,000 pensioners, 22,000 workers, and 33,000 welfare beneficiaries in Kosovo are currently paid from the budget. “I have recently sent a letter to 113 budget users in Serbia, so that they would ascertain whether they have extra demands or savings, and asked them to answer by March 31.” Judging by the response, Cvetković said, there are neither new demands nor savings. “Therefore, in order to preserve the microeconomic stability, we must go for the so-called zero-sum principle”, the minister concluded. (B92)