Finance Minister concedes a higher deficit likely


A day after the lower house passed the 2009 state budget, the country’s Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek has admitted that the deficit may be twice as high as that predicted. The budget passed by Parliament, factored-in a deficit of 38.1 billion crowns and assumes a 4.8 percent GDP growth. However, a day later, Mr Kalousek conceded that due to an economic slowdown expected next year, the state coffers may be short by tens of billions more crowns – while adding that the deficit could reach as high as sixty billion crowns. The Czech National Bank has repeatedly lowered its GDP growth forecasts for 2009 as the effects of the global economic slowdown become more apparent in the Czech Republic.