Minister promises balanced budget despite errors
15 September 2006, BRUSSELS — Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders has said he still expects a budget balance for this year despite his government's underestimation of tax rebates.
15 September 2006
BRUSSELS — Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders has said he still expects a budget balance for this year despite his government's underestimation of tax rebates.
"Budget balance will be achieved, even if it means selling an additional building," Reynders said in an interview with newspaper 'Le Soir'.
He said the government's underestimation by EUR 883 million of tax rebates occurred because an official removed a computer security filter without authorisation.
It is the third time this year the government will have to review its budget. Reynders added that the error was caused when a civil servant deactivated a computer security program aimed at eliminating accounting errors.
Budget Minister Freya Van de Bossche said the government would have to meet before the end of the month to deal with the consequences of the computer error.
"It is evident that before we can set the 2007 Budget, we need an additional, third check of the 2006 figures because of the accounting error of the administration," she said.
Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt said earlier in the week that the government would seek about EUR 4 billion in cuts next year to post its first budget surplus.
At the same time, the head of the liberal-socialist coalition wants to maintain his policy of tax cuts and efforts to beef up pension reserves as the number of elderly people grows.
Belgium is aiming for a 0.5 percent budget surplus by 2009 according to a budget plan it handed to the EU executive last December — well below the 3 percent deficit ceiling set by EU rules that many nations using the euro have trouble sticking to.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news