The budget surplus not higher than 78 million EUR

Prishtina, 5 February 2004 – Kosovar dailies cover the budget surplus for 2003 made public by the Ministry of Economy and Finances yesterday, which is several times less than the assessment of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

According to Minister Sadriu the last figure of the budget surplus would be made public after the Economic and Fiscal Council had decided about a grant of € 21 million dedicated to municipal projects, which had already started to be implemented and which had not yet been finished. Depending on the decision, the surplus could be € 78 or 57 million.

According to the Minister of Finance and Economy, Ali Sadriu, the surplus from last year is not higher than € 78 million; it could even be around € 57 million.

According to him the figure could change depending on the stance of the Economic and Fiscal Council, a higher body of UNMIK, where higher officials of Kosovo institutions and UNMIK took part, including SRSG Holkeri and the PM Rexhepi.

‘After the EFC has decided, I think that the surplus will drop to around € 57 million’, said Minister Sadriu, explaining that there was a grant of € 21 million dedicated to municipalities for certain projects that had already started to be implemented, but which have not yet been completed. These projects, according to him, were important, like the one of the recent floods, and some other projects that hadn’t yet been signed by UNMIK chief Harri Holkeri.

Minister Sadriu did not specify whether his figures would be final or who made the calculations and how.

At the beginning of last month, the Ministry of Finance and Economy had set up a special commission consisting of local and international experts to assess the surplus of last year. As it was stated at the beginning of January, this commission promised that they would complete the job in a week. However, it is clear now that the much speculated surplus would not even be close to the € 330 million, which the IMF anticipated in September last year.

A delegation of the IMF experts visited Kosovo late last year and based on the information from the first nine months of 2003, they anticipated the surplus for 2003 in Kosovo to be around € 330 million including here over € 100 million which were taken from the surplus of 2002.