Minister Josip Aladrovic Talks Government Support as Measures Ease

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic has revealed how the latest easing up of Croatia’s anti-epidemic measures will affect the economy and how we’re dealing with the consequences of those previous closures.

Josip Aladrovic commented on the easing of measures for HRT, saying that the decision was guided by lower infection figures in the recent period and the expectations they have for the next period.

“We believe that this sort of measure easing is the optimum thing at the moment. In addition to epidemiological measures, we’ve also enabled the use of economic measures to overcome this crisis as easily as possible. We consider the activities we’ve reflected on to be the most important to protect businesses at this time,” said Josip Aladrovic.

“At this moment, it isn’t realistic to go for the greater relaxation of any coronavirus measures. New strains of the virus have emerged and we don’t know what effects they could leave on the epidemiological picture. This is a signal to citizens and enterprise owners that we’ve relaxed certain things to make it easier for everyone to fight the pandemic. This is what’s currently realistic and what we believe is opportune at the moment from both the economic and epidemiological point of view,” he added.

Aladrovic also confirmed that business owners who open their doors on Monday can continue to count on government grants.

“Measures to preserve jobs are in force until the end of February for those who plan to open their businesses on Monday and for those who aren’t or can’t. The reimbursement of fixed costs will continue being done using the the same principle. We want those who work in catering and hospitality and all those who had to closed to realise at least one part of their income through this relaxation of these measures, and the other part of it, as it was before, will be borne by the state,” he said.

Aladrovic noted that the measures which were last adopted were due to continue until the end of February, and in the coming days he’ll consider options related to the epidemiological framework and economic measures.

“We all need to be aware of our fiscal constraints and what the impact of these measures is on the state budget,” he said, warning that there would be some tightening of economic measures, too.

“To all those whose business is objectively endangered, the state will be on their side as it was before,” he said, before going on to confirm that the problem of delays in the payment of aid for the preservation of jobs has now thankfully been resolved.

“For the month of January, 19,000 out of 29,000 requests were processed, and 250 million kuna has been paid out to those businesses so far. Within ten to twelve days, everything else will certainly be paid out,” he said.

Unemployment is visible on the Croatian labour market, and Josip Aladrovic pointed out that the pandemic had certainly left its mark, but added that Croatia recorded a drop in employment of only 7,000 insured persons when comparing the end of January this year with the end of January 2020, just before the pandemic began to truly take hold on a global scale.

“These are positive trends, that’s what makes us happy. There are certain sectors that have experienced significant growth like the IT and construction sectors,” he said.

Speaking about the European Commission’s latest GDP forecasts, Aladrovic said that the growth rates are slightly higher than the ones forecasted by the government, while the fall rates for last year are lower than expected.

“In the past three weeks, we’ve seen a significant increase in demand for labour. This means that all those who are preparing for the tourist season and builders who are oriented to those areas affected by the earthquakes are significantly preparing for a wave of employment. We expect that all this will have positive economic consequences,” he said.

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