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Tajik Lower House Approves Deficit Budget

DUSHANBE -- The lower house of the Tajik parliament has approved the government's revised budget proposal for 2009, which includes a roughly 4 percent, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

The draft assumes income in 2009 of 2.597 billion somoni ($1 equals 4.15 somoni) and expenditures of 2.697 billion somoni.

Finance Minister Safarali Najmiddinov told deputies before the April 30 vote that state revenues have fallen by half due to the global economic crisis and lower prices for Tajikistan's exports, including cotton and aluminum.

Najmiddinov added that Tajikistan would postpone the implementation of some infrastructure projects and refurbishments on some state buildings, cut down on trips by government officials, and keep the level of social spending at original projections.

He said Tajikistan would proceed with planned hydropower projects.

Najmiddinov said Tajikistan has received $208 million in grants so far this fiscal year.

The budget still faces debate in the upper house of the legislature.