Prime Minister talks about investments and debt reduction
Croatian Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković on Monday took part in the Western Balkan Investment Summit, organized in London by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). He presented the strategic priorities of the new Croatian government and the main cross-border investment projects in the areas of energy and infrastructure, including the LNG terminal on the island of Krk and the Adriatic-Ionic gas pipeline and highway, reports Poslovni.hr on February 22, 2016.
“Special attention will be given to all the activities which stimulate economic growth, create new jobs, develop positive investment climate and raise the standard of living of our citizens”, said the prime minister at the summit which brought together prime ministers, ministers, political representatives and leading entrepreneurs from Croatian neighbourhood. The summit was attended by prime ministers Milo Đukanović of Montenegro, Aleksandar Vučić of Serbia, Isa Mustafa of Kosovo, Edi Rama of Albania and Salih Zvizdić of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Oresković said that the government will present a well-balanced budget in mid-March, with a focus on fiscal consolidation and reduction of the budget deficit. “The next step is to reduce the public debt by activating about 500 million euros worth of unused assets. The aim is to improve our credit rating and reduce the cost of borrowing”, said Orešković.
The next priority is to create a fund of 500 million euros for investment in small and medium enterprises, as well as to withdraw money from European funds, he said. Last year, Croatia withdrew 500 million euros, and this year’s goal is to withdraw between 900 million and one billion euros. These funds will be used to finance projects in infrastructure, tourism and agriculture.
Orešković stressed the need to create a positive investment climate and to reduce bureaucracy within the system, which includes raising the efficiency of the public sector. Croatian prime minister added that he was the only prime minister at the summit who had been an investor himself, stating that as the general manager of Pliva he invested about 250 million euros.
Among cross-border infrastructure projects, Prime Minister Orešković listed the LNG terminal on Krk, the Adriatic-Ionic gas pipeline, the Adriatic-Ionian highway, and the construction of the Croatian part of European Corridor Vc, which will link the port of Ploče with Slavonia and Hungary through Bosnia and Herzegovina. Orešković said that these projects were important for the private sector as well.
“I am by nature an optimist, and as such, I believe that Croatia and its neighbours represent an excellent opportunity for investment at the local level. That will increase our prosperity and provide a platform for greater cooperation and a brighter future for all our citizens”, concluded Orešković.
Prior to the summit, Prime Minister Orešković met with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Minister for Trade and Investment Francis Maude.