The Slovenia Times

Critical Points of the Economy


The boss of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) Samo Hribar Milic addressed the event, saying that all parties and politicians should be looking for answers to the key problems of Slovenia's economy.

The conference, held only days after an early election was officially called for 4 December, was attended by most leaders of Slovenian parties, who expressed concern with Slovenia's poor economic situation and pessimism among people.

Hribar Milic is however confident that Slovenia can boost its economic growth fast, but is critical of the public sector, expressing his belief that a reorganisation will reduce costs. "Only in 2007 the public sector used less than EUR 14.6bn, while this year we'll come near to EUR 18bn or even exceed that figure."

During the conference hosted by the GZS, business representatives from some of Slovenia's big companies highlighted what they believe are the main issues and proposed some concrete measures to tackle these problems.

CEO of coatings maker Helios expressed fear that the situation was already very bad and that the real problems were only yet to come. "We're worried about the diminishing orders accompanied by the poor financial state of companies and poor credit portfolio of banks," added CEO of tools maker Kolektor Group Stojan Petric.

He proposed that the country take out an extra EUR 1bn worth of loans to help the most promising companies. He moreover believes that Slovenia should secure more investment funds by cutting public administration expenditure by 20% in four years, by introducing a 2% increase in VAT, a tax on property and secure the withdrawal of state from companies.

The conference underlined the need for a labour market reform. "Our labour legislation is neither flexible, nor secure - it's dangerous for our economy," said spa operator Terme Olimija boss Zdravko Pocivalsek.

Joze Duh of the Slovenian spa association moreover called upon the next government to realise that sustainable eco tourism was among Slovenia's key advantages and that the state should help the sector with investments it cannot handle itself - including boosting Slovenia's air links.

The conference also heard that the next economy minister should be a former boss of a big company, as business experience may be used in public administration. In response to this, former Public Administration Minister Gregor Virant, who is to run in the 4 December general election with a party of his own, said that if he wins, business representatives may name the economy minister.

The event moreover underlined the need for personal integrity of managers, as well as the importance of communication skills, team work and dedication. Business representatives called for more respect for the rule of law, and stricter sanctions in public procurement projects in which subcontractors did not get paid.


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