Finance Minister Marić has been ignoring the Service’s leaders for more than a month.
The Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS) is facing the problem of financing and receiving support from the government. Some of the issues were explained this morning by the long-time head of HGSS Vinko Prizmić, reports N1 on August 21, 2017.
Each year, the HGSS has more and more work. There is an increasing number of rescue operations and tasks, and for a long time, there has been a problem with the financing of the service.
“We provide our time for free, but there is no one who is ready to give us anything. We do not need much, just the amount that all other services receive, such as firefighters and emergency medical services. There is no service covering Croatia which can operate with such a small sum of money. Following the trends and new commitments, we have come to the point that we can no longer function. For example, we cannot drive unregistered vehicles, and that is also a cost. We have to pay it just like any for-profit business. That is an issue we have been warning about. Budgets are being drafted year after year, but they do not think there is any problem,” said the head of the HGSS.
“We receive funds from the state on several accounts: these are individual agreements with the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Health, but in many cases, we do not get anything, because we actually have to do something things for them, like education courses. That is not revenue for us, but a cost. We are talking about nine million kunas, which is extremely low for a national level service, with our 1,500 members and about sixty branches. Local communities provide less, about 3.5 million kunas. Some of our stations cover whole counties and operate with just 100,000 kunas a year. We have been trying to get into contact with the Finance Minister, and that is the largest problem. We have met with the Interior Minister and the Tourism Minister, negotiating about tourism fees, as well as with a number of other institutions and state administration bodies. The key is for the Ministry of Finance to recognise the importance of our service, to assess the contribution which we provide. They finally have to admit that it is a shame that the HGSS does not receive as much as it should. We have a service which is doing such an outstanding job, and no one is looking at our contribution. We do have promises there will be meetings in the future,” said Prizmić.
They have been trying to schedule a meeting with Finance Minister Marić for a long time.
“We have been negotiating for a long time, our letter and a meeting request are somewhere there, sent a month ago or maybe longer, in addition to other attempts. The Ministry and the Minister are in focus of some other problems, and apparently, they do not see us as a major issue. We expect to talk with him as soon as possible, but in a good way, to understand why they save money on us,” concluded Prizmić.
Translated from N1.