Budget draft "stranded" in the corridors of power

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Even if the document ends up at the House of Representative tomorrow, lawmakers have just seven working days left to study and approve the budget draft.

The 2008 national budget draft is still being worked on, the European Radio for Belarus has learned. The press office of the Ministry of Finance said that the draft was studied by several agencies before being reviewed by MPs:

“The budget is not yet complete. The pattern is as follows: Ministry of Finance -- Council of Ministers -- the Office of the President -- the House of Representatives. Currently, the budget draft is at one of those levels”.

Anatol Paulovich, Chairman of the Economy, Communication and Entrepreneurship Committee at the House of Representatives, told our radio that the draft had not reached legislators yet.

“First, it is reviewed by the budget committee. It is then forwarded to us. We have not received it yet. We are expecting it any day”.

Sviatlana Hil, deputy chairperson of the budget committee, told the European Radio for Belarus that the draft budget was still under study at the Council of Ministers. At the same time, lawmakers will end their fall session on December 20:

“The House of Representatives receives the draft budget from the president. But, the Council of Ministers has not forwarded it yet. We are expecting it any day. But just imagine how little time is available to us before December 20!”

The press office of the Council of Ministers told the European Radio for Belarus that the draft had already been tabled at the president's office:

“The draft was today forwarded to the Office of the President".

However, MPs are confident that they will be able to pass the budget before the winter break. But they should not forget that the document normally contains at least 700 pages.

It turns out that lawmakers have only seven working days to study and approve the budget for 2008 on condition that the draft will be filed with the House of Representatives tomorrow.