ZAGREB, February 22, 2019 – Economy Minister Darko Horvat said on Friday the current growth rates, 2.7% of GDP, 4% of exports and 4.3% of investments, were a good foundation but not enough to equate Croatia with the countries it would like to stand side by side.
Speaking at an investment conference, Horvat underlined the need for further reform and said that Croatia was in the middle of European rankings when it came to attracting investment. Right now, Croatia has one of the most stimulating frameworks for investors, he added.
By eliminating administrative obstacles and reducing non-tax levies and the cost of labour, we wish to relieve businesses in paying for labour but also increase every worker’s net income, Horvat said.
He said some parts of Croatia attracted investment much faster than others and that some parts of the country needed to make drastic changes in this respect.
Starting a business must be possible in two days and an application for that is being developed, the wish being that every entrepreneur can start a business electronically in one step in only two days, Horvat said.
He said Construction Minister Predrag Štromar was implementing an action plan so that obtaining a building permit could be possible in 15 steps instead of 22.
Horvat said foreigners perceived Croatia primarily as a country of sea and sun as a lot of money had been invested in such a brand. On the other hand, Croatia is not recognised as an investment destination because it is not being marketed as such, he added.
Croatian Banking Association (HUB) director Zdenko Adrović said the HUB was pushing for a debate on how to encourage and increase investment, on measures for faster economic growth and on the position and influence of the financial and banking sector.
He said the results of HUB’s “fight for the legal certainty of doing business… were not satisfactory. Our ultimate goal is to ensure a stable and predictable regulatory framework and the legal certainty of doing business, clear regulations and respect for expertise criteria.”
Adrović said maintaining a stable and competitive banking system not only improved Croatia’s perception among investors but the whole system of attracting investments as well.
Economic analyst Velimir Šonje said the investment climate had been improving over the past three years, primarily owing to private investment, while state investment slowed down the growth. “Investment recovery is the result of tourism, trade, the manufacturing industry, and electricity and gas supply. More than 50% of investments are financed from own sources, while 30% are loans and leasing.”
More news on Croatia’s economy can be found in the Business section.