Taxes, education seen as key for shift to digital industry
A digitisation breakthrough requires incentives for investments, an appropriate educational system and tax reform, said the chamber's chairman Gertrud Rantzen.
Aleksander Zalaznik, the boss of installations maker Danfoss Trata, said Slovenia needed to open up to "young foreigners with appropriate know-how who can help develop the Slovenian industry."
But Slovenian companies find it hard to attract foreign talent, as their salaries are excessively taxed and they are "simply too expensive", he said.
Mateja Vraničar, state secretary at the Finance Ministry, agreed that the high taxation of labour needed to be addressed, but she noted this was politically difficult.
"The ministry wanted to abolish the top income tax rate, but there was no political consensus about that," she said.
The Finance Ministry is thus focused on eliminating red tape, improving the efficiency of tax collection and restructuring tax sources.
"But the primary goal is a stable fiscal environment, which requires either stable tax sources or a consensus that we will finance fewer things from the state purse."
She acknowledged, however, that short-term measures could be adopted, for example lower taxation of bonuses.
"We are still harmonising the specific proposals. The goal is to present legislative proposals by the summer."
Other government representatives on the panel noted that development trends leading towards Industry 4.0 require partnering with the corporate sector.
"I don't believe in a centrally managed economy, the truth is always in the market. Only the market can find the way, it is for the state to facilitate that," said Franc Matjaž Zupančič, state secretary at the Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy.
Similarly, Aleš Cantarutti, state secretary at the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, said government agencies cannot know everything. "We have to forge partnerships between the state and companies."