Belgian economy grew 1.5pc in 2005

16th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

16 February 2006, BRUSSELS — Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt welcomed the annual report of the National Bank (NBB) on Thursday, stressing it was encouragement for the government to continue its current course. The annual report showed the budget was again balanced in 2005, but this time with a 0.4 percent surplus. This was an improvement on the 0.1 percent deficit in 2004.

16 February 2006

BRUSSELS — Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt welcomed the annual report of the National Bank (NBB) on Thursday, stressing it was encouragement for the government to continue its current course.
 
The annual report showed the budget was again balanced in 2005, but this time with a 0.4 percent surplus. This was an improvement on the 0.1 percent deficit in 2004.

However, the Liberal VLD leader also said he was open to suggestions from the NBB to reduce primary expenditure so that the federal budget surplus could be maintained in coming years.

Verhofstadt was pleased with NBB figures revealing that 39,000 jobs were created from a 1.5 percent increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2005. This was in comparison to 24,000 jobs and a GDP growth rate of 2.4 percent in 2004.

Besides the pleasing employment figures, the 1.5 percent economic growth was better than expected, news agency Belga reported.

Verhofstadt expects the introduction of the new company tax (notional interest rate deduction) and a stabilisation in recent income tax cuts will reduce pressure on the labour market and international fiscal pressures.

However, the government might have to raise deductions on fixed professional costs in a bid to reduce workforce and fiscal pressures.

On VRT radio the prime minister said boosting the competitiveness of Belgian companies will be a priority in the coming year. Verhofstadt also promised income tax cuts and funding for innovation in exchange for wage moderation this year.

Keen to ensure that income tax cuts are not eaten up by workplace demands from unions, the prime minister wants the lower taxes to effectively lead to more jobs.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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