Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis told reporters after thesix-hour parliamentary session that the budget was the most difficult to passsince 1995.
The prime minister underscored that it is also important tofollow next year's budget. "We can come up with amendments only in anextraordinary situation," he said.
The budget was approved by a vote of 53 to 42.
Revenues to the government budget are projected to reach 5.32 billion lats(7.5 billion euros) and expenditures to hit 5.57 billion lats 's the budgetdeficit is planned at 247 million lats or 1.5 percent of GDP. Revenues to nextyear's budget are expected to grow by 1.1 percent as compared to 2008, andexpenditures by 6 percent.
The 2009 draft budget saw considerable changes between the first and secondreadings 's revenues to consolidated budget have been reduced by 145 millionlats, and expenditures by 227.7 million lats, while the planned deficit to theconsolidated budget has been cut by 82.5 million lats.
The ministries had to cut their budgets by 10.67 percent of the adjustedexpenditures planned for 2009 budget. By July next year, the number ofemployees in state administration has to be cut by 10 percent, and wages haveto be reduced by 5 percent.
The move has left many public sector workers upset about theamount of money allotted to salaries.
"Unfortunately, even if we had wanted to, we would havebeen unable to follow the drafting of the budget -- information has never beenso tightly guarded from social partners as this year. It seems that thegovernment thus tried to gradually accustom us to the gravity of the situation,but with this attitude to social partners we will never arrive at good-quality,and most importantly, timely decisions on the national budget," Free TradeUnion Confederation of Latvia Chairman Peteris Krigers was quoted by the BalticNews Service as saying.