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Sep 25, 2009 17:04 EEST
September 25 (SeeNews) - Albania's finance ministry said it has proposed to increase government spending for the current year by 17 billion leks ($182 million/124 million euro) to 34% of the projected gross domestic product (GDP) under a supplementary budget bill moved to parliament.
Previously, spending was set at 32.3% of GDP.
The extra revenue comes from the privatisation of major state-owned assets this and last year, Finance Minister Ridvan Bode said in a statement. He introduced the supplementary budget bill to Albania's 140-seat parliament on Thursday.
The parliament will vote on the proposal at a session that is still to be scheduled. If it is enacted, it will be the fourth year in row that Albania has had a supplementary budget.
“We had revenue from last year we can use this year. We knew that this year there will be pressure from the global crisis. We have sped up the privatisation process and created an opportunity to ensure the stability of the Albanian economy with millions of euro in additional money,” Bode said in the statement.
In June 2008 Albania sold a 85% stake in its oil refinery and distributor ARMO to a U.S.-Swiss consortium for 129 million euro. In April this year the government endorsed the sale of a 76% stake in electricity distributor OSSH to Czech CEZ for 102 million euro and of its residual 12.6% stake in Albanian Mobile Communications (AMC) to the AMC majority owner, Greek wireless operator Cosmote, for 48.2 million euro.
“Everything will be allocated for public investment projects,” Bode said, mentioning also the utilisation of a 250 million euro syndicated loan that Albania borrowed last year from Deutsche Bank and Greece’s Alpha Bank.
Albania had a 39.92 billion leks consolidated budget deficit in the first seven months of the year, compared to a 5.56 billion leks deficit in the same period in 2008. Revenue totalled 171.5 billion leks through July 2009, 11.8% below plan, while spending totalled 211.37 billion leks, 4.5% lower than planned.
Bode further said in the statement that the proposal for a budget revision also lowers the 2009 tax revenue forecast by 7.5 billion leks to 340 billion leks or down by 2.0% compared to the initial target.
Domestic debt is proposed to be lowered by 0.2 percentage points to 4.0% of GDP.
Bode said that Albania’s economy will grow by a real 5.0% this year, despite the global economic crisis. He said that in the first quarter of 2009 the economy grew by a real 6.0%.
Albania’s economy grew by a real 7.2% in 2008 and by 6.0% in 2007. The country has forecast 6.3% of GDP growth in 2009.
(1 euro=136.7586 Albanan leks)
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