en English

On today`s Business Breakfast of the American Chamber of Commerce – AmCham Slovenia, Matej Potokar, the President of the American Chamber of Commerce – AmCham Slovenia and Director General at Microsoft Business Solutions for CEE Region, supported the new government` s determination for changes which are also according to the opinion of the American Chamber of Commerce – AmCham Slovenia urgent and necessary and therefore laid great stress upon as quoted:

We welcome the government for having confronted the crisis actively. The concrete savings proposals should on the other hand be followed, as it is the case in a company, by a good vision and strategy of how to attract new investors and increase the number of new workplaces with high added value, as it only in this way for a medium term means that we could succeed to become a successful country. Restructuring will not be possible only upon cost cutting, since we definitely need incentives for the development and for a stimulated creation of growth also as regards the income.

Many companies that have already left Slovenia as the reason for moving their regional centers indicated the price of workforce being too high.

We still believe that the idea of the social cap as it is written in the coalition agreement is a significant element for stimulating the employment of experts and the developmental orientation of economy and for increasing optimism and general welfare.”

Our guest speaker on today`s AmCham Business Breakfast at Hotel Lev was Dr Janez Šušteršič, Minister of Finance of the Republic Slovenia, who by his presence showed positive relations towards all the gathered economists, entrepreneurs and foreign ambassadors and his readiness for dialogue. Among other he stressed that the government with its or despite certain proposed measures will not be able to alone improve the economic, business and life conditions in Slovenia and confronted the gathered businessmen with the fact that they altogether with the government share the responsibility for improving the critical situation in Slovenia and for its development. As concerns the sensitive issue of the proposed savings measures, he explained that the government has already on its first day of assuming office started with lowering the costs “in the entrepreneurial mode” firstly by itself – as one would tackle it within a company. There has been for the public sector wages so far earmarked 4 billion EUR of budget money.

The Minister of Finance also stressed that the government promised the international community that the state budget of the Republic of Slovenia would be balanced by 2015 (reduction of deficit below 3% of GDP by 2013 and offset by 2015). He also said that the entire government is working intensively on the state budget and has as the first important step already established a restructured basis for the savings and that they all try to concentrate on measures that would stimulate the economy.

As regards the field of taxation, he stressed that a simplification is urgent, as is a lower taxation for small and medium enterprises, the introduction of new, effective approaches for detecting and monitoring tax financial indiscipline, tax evasion and the necessity of clear rules for strategic investment.

Regarding the field of state property, he explained that he cannot reveal all the measures yet as they are still in working stages, however the changes are pressing. In his view there is only one state agency required to manage the state property.

Minister Šušteršič pointed out that as it concerns the negotiations with the social partners, with whom they try to settle for a compromise, they are investing a lot of energy into it and do not wish that a referendum would take place, however in case it would, he optimistically announced that they will know how to correctly address and reassure the public. He presented the governmental strategy which evaluated that it is better to have concrete measures and proposals prepared in advance and negotiate consequently, put up with the public opinion and in case a referendum occurs deal with it later. He stressed that the government would like to have the public opinion on its side and to avoid public protests like anything, therefore he sees more importance in the dialogue with the public than with the individual institutions, which are forming only a part of the entire story.

The discussion was excellently led by Mrs. Nevenka Črešnar Pergar, Director of NP Consulting and advocate of the government` s impact on the economic and state competitiveness. To her observation that we are all aware that the proposed savings measures are urgent, prompt and inevitable, yet the Opposition insists that the measures they are passing, will intensively intervene in the »architectural« structure of our society as a whole, the Minister Šušteršič replied, that he wishes that the public would express their opinion of what still might be changed and what would be the most difficult to accept for them, however the government must stand on their suggestions.

She also pointed out the efforts of the minister and government to open to foreign investments and asked the minister when and how they would ensure it. Minister explained that the first measures for establishing better business conditions for foreign investors are in the tax relief, budget balance, regulations in spatial planning and suggested that solutions to the banks may be a powerful signal to foreign investors.

The Minister of Finance of the Republic of Slovenia hopes that Slovenia would be a small, highly efficient and open country and respected within and outside the Slovenian borders.