Croatian Finance Minister Marić Takes Part in Spring Meetings of World Bank and IMF

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Finance Minister in Washington speaks about Croatia’s finances.

Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said that in Washington, where he is attending spring meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), he had had constructive talks with representatives of international financial institutions, including about financial and business restructuring of Croatian Motorways (HAC) public company. He also announced that Croatia could borrow additional funds on the foreign financial markets during this quarter, reports Večernji List on April 17, 2016.

Minister Marić said that talks with the representatives of the IMF and World Bank were constructive and devoted exclusively to economic issues. “We have their positive reactions, the full support and cooperation. However, it should be said that they are encouraging us to be faster and more efficient in implementation of reforms, including in the part which concerns the political economy”, said Marić. In the days and weeks ahead, Marić expected to continue a constructive dialogue with their representatives.

With the World Bank and other international institutions, the Croatian delegation discussed the financial and business restructuring of the HAC. “On Friday, we had a meeting with the expert teams of the World Bank which deals with transport issues about how to improve business operations of HAC. We have a high level of their understanding and support, but I cannot talk about details at this moment, because it is a process that is running its course”, said Marić.

Given the size and importance of the spring meetings of the IMF and the World Bank, a large number of investment bankers and investors, including the holders of Croatian debt, have gathered in Washington. Minister Marić said that they were interested to hear in which direction and how the Croatian government planned to pursue its economic policies.

In this year’s budget the government has planned a new debt of one billion euros, which would also include foreign sources of funds. “At this moment, we have not yet made a decision on borrowing, in particular on which markets, when and in what currency. However, we are actively monitoring the current situation in the financial markets, which is relatively good. The idea is to do it in the course of the second quarter, depending on how the situation in the financial markets further develops”, said Marić.

As for the so-called “Tax USKOK” (independent department of the Finance Ministry devoted to investigating tax evasions), which is these days in the public spotlight due to rumours about its possible closure, the Minister said that, on the contrary, he wanted to make the department strengthen its activities.

“I have full confidence in them and want to raise their activities to an even higher level. That includes the Tax USKOK, whom I also expect to continue to do its work with increased intensity. And, in terms of organization and systematization, at this point no decision has been made”, said Marić.

The Finance Minister announced that in two weeks the government would debate the national reform and convergence programs, which Croatia has to send by the end of April to Brussels for an assessment. “These two documents will contain reforms of public administration system, healthcare, pension system, social security, public finance management, education system, management of public enterprises, state assets… These reforms will be an integral part of these strategic documents that we are obliged to submit to the European Commission”, Marić concluded.


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