Finance minister says start of state investments is good news
Finance Minister Slavko Linic said on Wednesday a series of tenders for state investments would be launched in May and June, adding that deals would be offered, meaning the possibility of salary growth and employment, and that these was good news the government could offer.
This year won't be easy. It will be a year of difficult government moves. We haven't finished with unpopular measures, Linic told Croatian Radio.
What we must do is restructure the railway operator, restructure all road-building companies, the power company, the forests and waters management companies. These are all painful cuts which will continue to cause dissatisfaction and bad reactions, said Linic.
What we can expect this year is the opening of construction sites, less people at the Employment Service. Despite all the structural changes we will have in many public companies, I'm still convinced that more people will find employment, he added.
This is the real goods news that we can offer and for which we will fight the most until the end of the year. I hope the news about the construction works will replace the depressing news about the higher prices, the minister said, stressing that one must know that without realistic energy prices, there was no new investment.
Linic said that as of May 1, it would no longer be possible to pay salaries without paying contributions as well, adding that the Tax Administration would block the accounts of employers who failed to pay salaries and contributions.
He said property tax would be discussed by the end of the year, by which time the Finance Ministry would draw up a proposal for the government so that the tax could be imposed as of the beginning of 2013. It is already clear that higher tax will be paid on property that is not in use, he added.
Employers have to be provided with conditions to work, their taxes should be reduced, but they should also be asked to be responsible. The state has the right to impose taxes on everyone who speculates with property, said Linic.
He went on to say that budgetary revenues were about six per cent higher than last year and that this was also due to the higher tax discipline.
The new law on financial operations will define payments within 60 days. If that's not possible, debtors and creditors will be forced to settle. The Tax Administration is a huge creditor. The wish is to preserve jobs and this will done together with the banks, said Linic.
Asked by a listener why no interventions were being made in the public sector, where salaries are much higher than in the private sector, Linic said the problem were the collective agreements secured by the unions.
It's up to us to change the law to enable the adjustment of collective agreements, so that those workers can shoulder the burden of the crisis too, the minister said, adding that the changes would be made by the end of the year, likely stirring up dissension between the government and the unions.
The minister said there would be no more borrowing abroad this year but that the government would have to borrow from domestic banks to service all its obligations.
He said the government would sell the companies it owned in order to borrow as little as possible.