|Slovakias budget gap narrowed by 35.3% y/y to EUR 1.578bn in the first half of 2011, due to higher revenue and lower spending, the finance ministry said. The deficit remained broadly unchanged from March when it stood at EUR 1.567bn, a signal that the government is succeeding in keeping a budget discipline. Budget revenue rose by 12.4% y/y to EUR 4.9bn, accounting for 41.7% of the annual projection. The growth was supported by strong tax revenue collection that grew by 11.6% y/y to EUR 4.1bn. The value added tax (VAT) income increased by 5.7% y/y to EUR 2.2bn. Excise tax revenue inched up by 0.7% y/y to EUR 950.5mn. The European grants and transfers also contributed strongly to the good revenue performance. The receipts from the EU budget rose by 28.4% y/y to EUR 1bn. VAT receipts and revenue from the EU budget comprise 63.2% of the total annual budget revenue. Over the first six months of the year, budget expenditures declined by 3.5% y/y to EUR 7.1bn, mainly as a result of a 2% y/y drop in current expenditures to EUR 6.3bn. Capital spending also contributed, dropping by 13.6% y/y to EUR 802.5mn. The budget expenditures covered 41.6% of the full-year target. The government sees the 2011 budget deficit at EUR 3.8bn with budget revenue reaching EUR 13.1bn and expenditures - EUR 16.9bn. The general government deficit, that incorporates the budgets of all public institutions, is forecast at 4.9% of the GDP in 2011, compared to 7.9% in 2010.
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