The Slovenia Times

Počivalšek Confident He Can Promote Investments With Less Funds


An increase in funding for tourism promotion was meanwhile welcomed in the debate on the budget at the Economy Committee on Friday.

The economy minister is slated to get EUR 139.2m next year, down from EUR 198m this year, with a noticeable cut planned in investment expenditure. This was highlighted as a major area of concern by the opposition MPs in the debate.

However, Počivalšek countered that he would be able to provide the necessary impetus to the economy to keep it rolling following years of painful recession. The vision, he said, is on providing stimulus without budget funds.

Key measures include reducing red tape, making labour legislation more flexible and reducing taxes on labour. This will allow companies breathing room to create jobs, the minister said.

His explanations did not appease the opposition, which fears the plan may not be viable.

Matej Tonin of the opposition New Slovenia (NSi) said the budget gives no rise to confidence that the government is serious about reforms. The priority is retaining the status quo, he said.

Slovenia's export-oriented economy is going up against increasing international turbulence, which is even more reason for a healthy investment budget, he argued.

A similar view was presented by Miha Kordiš of the opposition United List (ZL), who said the government should be focusing on bolstering domestic consumption and Keynesian measures of investing in infrastructure and research and development.

That the situation was not as bleak as painted by the opposition was raised by Jan Škoberne of the coalition Social Democrats (SD), who argued that keeping the status quo a year after Slovenia saw growth of nearly 3% was not necessarily a bad thing.

There was more widespread praise for the planned spending on tourism promotion and the development of the wood industry in Slovenia during the debate.

Promotion of tourism abroad will see its budget double to nearly EUR 16m next year, a figure which will rise to EUR 16.6m in 2017, as Slovenia focuses on capitalising on the expanding global travel industry.

In the wood industry, a priority sector for the government, Počivalšek highlighted the planned launch of a national wood company which will manage production and ensure that the wood chain shifts from focusing on raw material to final products.


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