Hot topics

Slovenia Business Week no. 49/2004: Incoming Government Pledges to Reduce State Involvement in Economy

The new Slovenian government is making the reduction of state involvement in the economy and promotion of FDI two of its economic priorities for the next term

The new Slovenian government is making the reduction of state involvement in the economy and promotion of FDI two of its economic priorities for the next term.

In the coalition programme on the economy, the four coalition partners have set down the withdrawal of the state as an owner of companies as one of the main priorities.

The withdrawal will involve the sell-off of assets owned by the state-run Restitution Fund and Pension Management Fund, as well as the sale of state-held stakes in companies such as the national telecom Telekom Slovenije.

The privatisation of Telekom is dealt with in detail in the programme, with the government aiming to establish competition on the telecommunications market before launching the gradual sale of Telekom and its subsidiaries.

Another economic priority of the new government is the promotion of entrepreneurship. This will include measures that will facilitate the establishment of companies by cutting red-tape and costs associated with this.

The coalition intends to promote foreign direct investment, with one of the objectives being the establishment of a level playing field for local and foreign investors.

The coalition also reaffirms Slovenia's commitment to adopt the euro in 2007. According to the programme, the adoption of the euro is associated with a number of benefits.

However, the coalition believes that the adoption of the single currency also brings with it a number of challenges which require that the Slovenian economy becomes more competitive in the future.

The new government also hopes to increase discipline in the payment of taxes, while promising to offer tax breaks to companies which invest in research and development.

It also aims to improve the current tax system, among others by adopting changes to the already adopted income tax act. The basic tax policy goal will be to reduce the income tax burden.

In the banking sector, the government intends to promote "healthy competition" that will benefit consumers. The government also intends to promote mortgages as a form of bank-issued loans.

As regards the privatisation of state-owned banks, the coalition intends to pick out strategic partners which will promise to promote entrepreneurship in the country.

The government also hopes to make Slovenia one of the most developed countries in terms of information technology. According to the new government's coalition agreement, information technology is a crucial field for the future development of Slovenia.

One of the priorities of the new government in transport policies will be to reduce the burden on the environment as well as reinstating the status of the 5th and 10th pan-European routes as the priorities of transport policy in the country.

The new coalition has also pledged to draft a national programme for the development of agriculture, the countryside, livestock breeding, forestry and fisheries within eight months of taking up office.

Promoting the use of renewable sources of energy and the use of safe nuclear energy will be high on the government's list of priorities dealing with energy as set down in the coalition agreement.

Source: Slovene Press Agency STA

Author: STA