Will a new government post make investments easier?
Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković has started to assemble his personal office, choosing the people he trusts most, and so ultimately he could have around him a real Tim’s team, independent of HDZ and MOST, reports Večernji List on February 26, 2016.
The prime minister recently appointed Stijepo Bartulica as a foreign affairs advisor, and his office should soon include a “chief integration officer” (CIO), a coordinator who will deal with major investment projects and relevant ministries, which currently do not cooperate with each other as they should. While it is still unknown who will fill the post, that person would probably fulfil the duties which were in previous governments done by deputy prime ministers for economic affairs.
In the previous SDP government, this position initially belonged to Deputy Prime Minister Radimir Čačić (HNS) who supervised and took care of all government investments. At the beginning, there was criticism that he was in fact the most important person in the government, and not Prime Minister Zoran Milanović. The current government has two deputy prime ministers, but they are not in charge of the economic affairs. Karamarko deals with interior affairs and national security, while Petrov is concerned with social affairs.
Orešković’s CIO will formally have the post of the economic advisor, since that is how the posts in PM’s personal office are called, but he or she will try to “supervise” the largest investment projects, including the withdrawal of money from EU funds. Ministers believe that the prime minister needs such a person because he cannot personally take care of everything.
“As far as we know, this coordinator will not be some kind of a super-minister, a person with powers over other ministers. CIO will connect and coordinate ministries dealing with specific projects and report to the prime minister”, said one of the ministers. These major investment projects would presumably include the Pelješac Bridge, IBM investment and some other initiatives.
Economic analyst Damir Novotny explains that the post of chief integration officer is nothing new in the business world and that corporations often resort to coordinators who connect all the key stakeholders involved in a particular project. But, he adds that the problem might be the powers of the CIO, since they will formally be just an adviser.
“This is actually a job for a deputy prime minister. The key problem in government operations is the fact that each ministry has its own policy. It is necessary to change the Law on the Government Structure”, said Novotny. As an example of lack of coordination between ministries, Novotny cited the issue of withdrawal of EU funds, because there are “two implementing agencies and four ministries who prepare tenders, and at the end there are almost no results”. “Two years have passed, and there have been no serious tenders for money from EU funds”, concluded Novotny.