Lithuania: the transition to a market economy by World Bank

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It means that fewer resources are available for profitable enterprises and investments. It also sends the wrong policy signals; it inevitably tends to create the perception among enterprise managers that they will be bailed out anyway and can continue to rely on the Government. Any such financing should therefore be conditional on a thorough financial audit according to international standards, a consistent concept of enterprise restructuring and reform based on full commercialization (including hardening budget constraints and a reduction of financial flows from other sources, such as the budget and inter-enterprise arrears), and typically, although not necessarily, privatization.

However, these programs do not always appear to be systematically related to the amounts of available investment funds that might realistically be forthcoming from domestic and external sources. There is an urgent need for a comprehensive intra- and inter-sectoral review and prioritization of investment requirements, taking into account their importance and urgency for the development both of individual sectors and the economy as a whole, and carefully weighing the benefits and costs of investments and coordinating their financing within the overall budgetary process.

In this situation, continued fiscal adjustment and restraint will be central to the success of the stabilization and reform program. During 1992, the Government successfully implemented a series of revolving expenditure cuts in reaction to changing revenue flows, which kept the actual budget in a moderate surplus (around 2 percent of GDP). In the near term, the Government's overriding objective should continue to be keeping the general government budget in balance. At most, if extraordinary one-time budgetary pressures (such as the costs of restructuring the banking system) should make this unavoidable, the Government could run a very moderate deficit (below, say, 1 to 2 percent of GDP in 1993).

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