The finance minister talks about government finances in 2017 and plans for 2018.
In an exclusive interview with HRT (Croatian Radio Television), Finance Minister Zdravko Marić presented the state budget data for 2017, reports HRT on January 2, 2018.
“We closed the annual treasury on Friday and paid all the invoices received. 2017 has been a historically successful year. We will have the final data in the spring when the Central Bureau of Statistics and the Croatian National Bank (HNB/CNB) publish official data with the Eurostat verification, but we can say that, compared to the original plan, we’ve achieved better results. For the first time since 2009, we have increased salaries and pensions, acheived savings on interest rates etc. Secondly, when everything is added up in the state budget, the general government budget in 2017 was in surplus for the first time since independence. This will have an impact on the reduction of public debt to GDP ratio, compared to the previously projected 80 percent. According to our latest projections, we will be closer to 78 percent of GDP. On the half-point of our term, we could fulfil and exceed the goal we have set for the whole term,” said Finance Minister Zdravko Marić.
When asked whether tourism was the reason for such high budget revenues, Marić said, “That certainly had its role in the overall performance of our economy and generally the efficient collection of tax revenues. I will also point out tax reform which has been very successful and well-targeted.”
He was also asked about the road sector which has been generating debts for years. “This is also one of the reforms we’ve prepared. Lets not forget that two years ago we were discussing selling and monetising motorways. We have opted for financial restructuring, which implies a restructuring of the existing debt, which is now about five billion euros”, Marić said.
The Minister also talked about property taxes and when the government could introduce them. “As you know, we have delayed the application of the law. Everything remains as it has been so far, so citizens will continue to pay the communal fee.”
One of the issues covered was the healthcare system, which is also burdened by billions of kuna of debt.
“It’s inevitable that we’ll have to prepare a reform package on the health spending side, regarding the operation of hospitals and in terms of the procurement of medicines and equipment. We will work on it this year,” he said.
“We have already defined the tax policy framework for 2018, but I can say that we will make a significant step forward again, and prepare quality measures for further tax cuts and administrative relief for 2019,” concluded Marić.
Translated from HRT.