The Slovenia Times

OECD Slovenia report notes improvement, but also challenges


"Slovenia is one of the countries that was hit hard by the economic crisis but has made tremendous improvement since two years ago," Secretary General Angel Gurria said on presenting the OECD report in Ljubljana yesterday.

He said that the improvement was not only owing to the improved situation in the international environment, but also due to successful structural reforms undertaken by the country.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) expects Slovenia's economic growth this year could exceed 4.5%, an upgrade form 3.8% projected in early June, which in itself was a noticeable improvement on the organisation's previous forecast.

Slovenian Finance Minister Mateja Vraničar Erman was "very pleased" with the report noting an improvement, listing a reduction in the general government deficit, a stop on the growth in public debt and an improvement on most macroeconomic indicators as the country's achievements.

However, the OECD sees new challenges ahead, including further consolidation of public finances and the implementation of health and pension reforms.

The OECD report is focusing on the policies that can contribute to a sustainable economic growth and enable the implementation of key reforms, Gurria said, calling for investment in skills and human capital, to offer people a chance of promotion, but only relative to productivity rather than their age.

Determining the statutory pension age should take into account life expectancy and the country should also make an effort to increase the effective retirement age.

The education system must be adapted to labour market demands, as companies are complaining that they cannot find staff with the expertise and skills they need, Gurria said, adding that hospitals should be allowed to adjust their services to changed needs.

The OECD secretary general pointed to ageing-related spending pressures as an important consideration. He called for reforms in response to emerging needs in healthcare, the pension system and long-term care, or else tax burdens would have to increase.

Gurria also called for measures to foster productivity such as by improving regulation in the sense of what the country wants to achieve with an individual law, improving the environment to attract investment and boosting competition. More sectors and professions should be deregulated and management of state companies improved.

Gurria said that the country should have implemented these reforms yesterday, but Vraničar Eman added that the OECD report was based on data from 2015 and that several steps had since been taken, including the ongoing reforms of the judicial system, healthcare and construction legislation.

Commenting on the pension reform, the minister said that the ministry last year put forward a white paper on further adjustments of the pension system, but that future steps would depend on negotiations with social partners, while OECD recommendations surpassed the mandate of the incumbent government.


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