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Estonia: Parliament Passes Budget

Tallinn, 16 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- The Estonian Riigikogu today passed next year's state budget on first reading.

The proposed budget -- balanced as required by the constitution -- equals about $125 billion. That's about 13 percent larger than this year's figure, and represents substantial increases in defense outlays.

The budget estimates next year's inflation rate at 14 percent. This year's inflation rate is expected to reach 20 percent.

Mart Remmel of Riigikogu's economic and social information department told our correspondent in Tallinn that the the country's production of goods and services this year was lower than expected. Remmel predicted that growth of the gross domestic product will be low next year also, in the range of two or three percent.

Final passage of the budget is required by law before next March 1, or the president must dismiss parliament and call early general elections.