Finance Minister Talks about Latest Deficit Data and Privatization of Public Companies

Total Croatia News

Unexpectedly positive data on last year’s deficit is good news for the new Finance Minister.

Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said that the latest data announced by the Central Bureau of Statistics on the deficit and debt in 2015 represents a clear message to the European Commission that Croatia wants to exit the Excessive Deficit Procedure and that public debt will follow a downward trend, reports on April 21, 2016.

“As we said at the beginning of our term, we have two main economic objectives this year – increasing the economic growth and employment rate and the stabilization of public finances”, said Marić, adding that today’s data, compiled according to Eurostat’s ESA 2010 methodology, largely demonstrated that.

Data about budget deficit and the level of government debt in Croatia presented on Thursday showed that the deficit of the consolidated general government in 2015 amounted to 10.7 billion kuna or 3.2 percent of GDP, while the debt reached 289.7 billion kuna, or 86.7 percent of GDP. In 2014, the general government deficit stood at 18.1 billion kuna, or 5.5 percent of GDP, while the debt was 284.2 billion kuna, or 86.5 percent of GDP.

In 2015, Croatia for the first time recorded a primary surplus of general government in the amount of 1.22 billion kuna, or 0.36 percent of GDP.

“So, this is a very clear message to the European Commission that we want to make certain steps in order to exit the Excessive Deficit Procedure. We plan not only to stabilize, but to even mildly reduce the public debt-to-GDP ratio”, said Marić.

The State Office for State Property Management announced a public procurement procedure seeking consultants for initial evaluation of a portfolio of state-owned companies, before the government makes a decision on their possible privatization. The list of 54 companies includes Croatian Motorways, JANAF, HEP, Plinacro, Croatian Forests, Croatian Lottery, ACI, Jadrolinija, airports, Croatian Post Office, Petrokemija and Brijuni Riviera.

Asked if that meant that the government would sell these companies, Marić answered that at this time he would not discuss it. “We are undertaking evaluation of certain segments of state property and based on that and on some other factors we will present a comprehensive proposal. At this point, I would not speculate on individual companies”, said Marić.

He confirmed that by the end of this year 200 million euros would be realized from the activation of state property. “This is what we have written in the budget and certainly that is our goal”, concluded Marić.


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