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Dec 29, 2009 16:33 EEST
December 29 (SeeNews) - Kosovo's parliament on Tuesday approved the country's 2010 budget with a gap equivelent to 3.0% of the projected gross domestic product (GDP), down from a 7.5% deficit expected this year, Reuters reported.
The 1.46 billion euro ($2.1 billion) budget, which is six percent higher than the previous year, earmarks funds for a number of transport, energy, education, healthcare and agriculture projects.
"Around 35 percent or more than 400 million euros are dedicated for capital spending which will provide continued economic growth," Reuters quoted Economy Minister Ahmet Shala as saying in a letter to the parliament. Sixteen million euro in 2010 budget spending will be used for opening embassies worldwide.
The 120-seat parliament approved with 66 votes the government plan that put aside a 200 million euro reserve fund for any possible crisis which may hit economy. The government in Pristina and the International Monetary Fund project a 4.2% economic growth in 2010, compared to 4.0% in 2009, Reuters reported.
Kosovo economists say double-digit economic growth is needed to fight its 40% unemployment rate. According to the World Bank, 15% of Kosovo's two million population live in extreme poverty, making less than 93 cents a day.
Kosovo, joined the IMF and the World Bank after the country of the 90-percent Albanian majority in the Serbian province declared independence from Belgrade in 2008, is in talks with the global lender for up to a $300 million loan. It expects to conclude a deal very soon.
In the last decade Kosovo has received 3.0 billion euro in aid and is expecting another billion by 2011.
($ = 0.6931 euro)
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