Serbian parliament adopts 2003 budget rebalance

The Serbian Parliament adopted today the 2003 budget rebalance, the Agreement on defining the final status of bodies and organisations from Article 15 of the Law on the implementation of the Constitutional Charter of the state union of Serbia and Montenegro, and a Law on ministries. The Parliament voted 127 to five in favour of the budget rebalance, the Beta news agency reported.

Serbian Minister of Economy and Finance Bozidar Djelic said the budget had to be rebalanced because of the adoption of the Constitutional Charter of Serbia and Montenegro which defines new powers of the state union and its financing, as well as the powers to be transferred to the level of the state union’s members.

The financing of Serbia and Montenegro calls for 41 billion dinars ($712m), with 93.3 percent of the sum going to Serbian and the remaining 6.7 percent to Montenegro.

The new Serbian budget stipulates a deficit of 46.9 billion dinars ($814m), with revenues of 271.8 billion dinars ($4,72bn) and expenditures of 318.7 billion dinars ($5,53bn).

A total of 36.2 billion dinars ($628m) will be set aside for the army, 2.7 billion dinars ($46.9m) for diplomatic activities, and 2.1 billion dinars ($36.5m) for other state bodies.

Djelic announced increased diplomatic and economic efforts to mobilise donors to provide some 14 billion dinars ($24.3m) in donations and soft loans. The projected budget deficit is also to be covered from privatisation revenues (12.4 billion dinars, or $215m), loans (12.7 billion dinars, or $220m) and net domestic borrowings (6.8 billion dinars, or $118m).

Due to the global economic slowdown, the war in Iraq and the assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, the planned five percent economic growth was reduced to between 3.5 and 4.5 percent, said Djelic. The projected nine percent inflation rate will vary between nine and 11 percent.