Govt economic adviser: After 8th stimulus law, time for exit strategy

Ljubljana, 2 February – As the National Assembly is convening today to pass the 8th coronavirus relief package, Matej Lahovnik, the economist heading the taskforce preparing the mitigation measures, suggested it was now time to start thinking about an exit strategy.

Addressing the daily government press briefing, Lahovnik said the general view was no more additional aid instruments should be sought, and instead in the stimulus packages to follow it was necessary to start thinking about an exit strategy.

“Our view is that the second half of the year will be marked by a strong recovery. The epidemiological situation will definitely get much better as early as spring, which will allow a reopening of the services,” he said.

“The money will then start circulating again, which will bring about a revival of the activities that have been closed the longest,” said Lahovnik, who served as economy minister for seven months in 2004 and then from 2008 to 2010.

He believes government departments should draw up targeted public calls for applications to revive economic activities, which should allow for an efficient recovery.

The state-run export and development bank SID has already prepared a EUR 200 million loan guarantee scheme for tourism and hospitality for working capital and investment, while the SPIRIT agency will publish in March a EUR 36 million call to finance working capital of small and medium-sized businesses.

Lahovnik described the 8th relief package as urgent and effective, noting that the government would shoulder the cost of two-thirds of the rise in the statutory minimum wage for the first six months of the year.

“The minimum wage law is bad, but it’s been passed and is valid,” he said, adding the subsidy was the most the government could do for employers with respect to the matter in the given moment.