At the Slovenian Business Club (SBC) conference in Postojna today, some of the most prominent Slovenian exporters warned that the country urgently needs to strengthen its competitiveness. To do so, SBC members suggested tax relief of salaries, measures to attract workers from abroad and more flexible labour legislation which will allow faster dismissal and employment of workers.
One of the concerns raised at the conference is the departure of young people to other countries in search of better remuneration, with Marjan Šarec, the Slovenian prime minister, saying that Slovenia is becoming “an exporter of human resources abroad.”
Another problem raised was attracting foreign talent. Blaž Brodnjak , president of the management board of NLB bank, emphasised that Slovenia should knowingly decide to invite the greatest talents to the country. In this regard, he pointed out there is no capital market in Slovenia, suggesting it is a big problem.
Keeping the labour market flexible was also crucial to increasing the country’s competitiveness. Marjan Batagelj, head of Postojnska Jama group, raised the issue of productivity which is linked to flexible labour market, for which the state should take appropriate measures to enable companies to replace unmotivated workers with motivated ones without additional costs.
Improving the current tax system will solve some of the competitiveness issues, speakers at the conference agreed. Andrej Bertoncelj, the finance minister, said that the government will present measures of “comprehensive tax optimisation” to the social partners and the public in the next month. The government is considering relaxing the 13th salary or recourse, changing tax brackets, as well as corporate income tax. Bertoncelj added he would prefer even stronger or deeper measures but the government is constrained by public finances. He also announced the gradual implementation of measures to keep the business environment predictable. The biggest package is expected this year, followed by additional individual measures in 2020 and 2021. He also announced a greater efficiency of the public sector.
Bertoncelj also reminded that the basic task of the ministry of finance is to ensure macroeconomic stability, as only then will there be other stability. In this context, it was crucial for the government to provide a budgetary surplus and a reduction in public debt in this year’s budget which is expected to reach a Maastricht limit of 60% of the gross domestic product within two years.