BELGRADE, Yugoslavia — The government announced plans Friday to ease an unpopular austerity program, three days before the leadership meets to consider widespread demands for resignations in its leadership.
Deputy Premier Janez Zemljaric said Yugoslavia will import $600 million in emergency staples--triple the amount announced Oct. 8 by the government--to ease the worst economic crisis in the country in four decades.
Belgrade dailies said the government also would increase wages for workers in profitable companies and in social services.
Austerity Plan Imposed
The government imposed an austerity program last May designed to curb a $21-billion foreign debt and 217% annual inflation by reducing or freezing wages and allowing prices to rise.
The new pay increases will be adopted by Parliament by the end of the month, Belgrade dailies said.
The newspapers said the International Monetary Fund had approved the measures. The IMF and other Western creditors insisted on the austerity program before rescheduling debt payments and extending new loans.
Meanwhile, the Central Committees of four of Yugoslavia's six republics and of ethnically troubled Kosovo province also met Friday to iron out political rifts as fiery politicking continued before Monday's meeting of the policy-setting national Central Committee.
Several Serbian Communist Party groups, including the influential Belgrade city organization, joined calls for the resignation of national party chief Stipe Suvar.