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Sep 25, 2007 16:08 EEST
September 25 (SeeNews) - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Albania agreed on Tuesday on the key parametres of the country’s 2008 budget draft, the IMF said.
“The IMF and the Albanian government have reached a broad agreement on the key parametres of the 2008 budget, including net domestic borrowing, the overall cash balance, revenue projections and priority spending areas, as well as on the underlying macroeconomic and fiscal policy assumptions," IMF said in a statement after the end of its official mission to Albania.
Next year's budget revenue and spending will be 12% higher than the initially planned figures for the current year, Finance Minister Ridvan Bode said in a separate statement after the end of the IMF mission.
Initially, Albania had planned 300.3 billion leks ($3.4 billion/2.42 billion euro) in budget spending and 253.5 billion leks in revenue, equal to 17.7% of the country's GDP.
Following a revision of the 2007 budget bill in July prompted by higher revenue from the sale of the fixed-line monopoly Albtelecom to a Turkish consortium and improved tax collection, Albania cut by 2.9% to 45.4 billion leks its 2007 budget deficit target.
The IMF has also urged the Albanian government to accelerate the privatisation of the electricity distribution arm of state-run power utility KESH, and to focus more strongly on reforms in areas directly impacting the business climate.
IMF approved last year a $24.7 three-year lending programme to Albania in support of the government's efforts to reduce poverty and reform the country's economy.
(1 euro = 121.4415 Albanian leks)
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