The Slovenia Times

IMF Rep Urges Continued Efforts to Reduce State Role in Economy


Delie Velculescu, who heads the IMF mission to Slovenia, said privatisation was one way of reducing the state's role in the economy, which is needed to "boost economic efficiency and minimise risk to the taxpayer".

She assessed in her comments that excessive political meddling in the corporate sector remains an obstacle to greater economic efficiency.

Velculescu's comments come in the wake of the sale of a majority stake in brewer Pivovarna Laško to Dutch giant Heineken and news that only one bidder has submitted a bid for a majority stake in telco Telekom Slovenije.

While the Pivovarna Laško sale meant that that the state offloaded its minority stake, there is increasing speculation that it could retain its majority stake in Telekom for now due to lack of suitable offers.

While the sale of Laško is "encouraging, the authorities need to accelerate efforts to privatise other assets where the state has a majority stake", said Velculescu, who pointed to the telco and the state-owned banks.

She also commented on the IMF's decision to upgrade forecasts for economic growth in Slovenia for the coming two years, saying that this was mostly a consequence of favourable external factors.

The upgrade "largely reflects the impact of the ECB's quantitative easing program, the depreciation of the euro, and oil price decline on both exports and domestic demand".

Velculescu said that to secure sustainable long-term growth Slovenia should continue to focus on corporate debt restructuring, bolstering corporate governance and structural reforms that deal with the negative demographic dynamic.


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