Zdravko Marić Comments on Agrokor, Growth Expectations and Economy

Lauren Simmonds

The finance minister also stated that most analysts and economists expect GDP growth of 3.1 or 3.2 percent this year, and the differences are small.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 21st of December, 2017, Finance Minister Zdravko Marić has stated that the Croatian economy will grow next year at a rate of 3 or something just below 3 percent, slower than in 2017, but he insisted that this doesn’t point to the stagnation of the economy.

Marić commented on the situation ahead of the government’s session when faced with a journalist’s question as he commented on the latest forecasts by the Croatian National Bank (CNB), which reduced the estimated GDP growth this year from the previous 3.3 to 3.1 percent, while next year it expects somewhat slower growth of about 2.9 percent.

“Next year, we’ll have growth at a rate of 3 or just below 3 percent, which from this perspective is somewhat slower than it has been 2017, but this doesn’t mean stagnation, although with this growth as a stronger starter, there are limitations, the effects of tax reform are also visible, as well as other elements of growth such as the rising labour factor and productivity, which are to be put on the agenda, as this is what the economy needs most with reform and that can also be seen in employment [figures] and with wages,” Marić noted.

When commenting on economic forecasts for 2018, Marić stated that “everyone is more or less consistent in the projections, the government and others, and these projections are credible, which is good for the business world,”

He also added that so far, tax reform has been the most focused point and that the effects of which can be seen on investment activity, and this results in a reduction in profit tax as a support to entrepreneurs and for the improvisation of the overall business climate.

“If we want sustainable growth rates, and we do want that, investments with exports of goods and services need to be stronger,” Marić said. He also added that after two to three years, inflation returned to the ”positive” zone, it’s now at about 1 percent, and next year it could be approximately 1.5 percent.

In terms of wages, he said that for the first time since the beginning of 2009, the salaries of civil servants had begun being properly corrected.

When aked by journalists about yesterday’s presentation of Agrokor’s highly anticipated draft structural settlement plan, Marić stated that he didn’t want comment too much on the creation of the “new Agrokor”, because there would be additional communication on the subject to come in the following days, but he estimated that, as he understood it, “one integral part of this phase of business and financial restructuring of that group has been completed”.

“In the days to come we’ll get to see what all the reactions to this plan will be, as well as how the talks and comments about ”absolution” and the amounts of write-offs will go,” concluded Minister Marić.


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