Slovenia has developed stringent budgetary policies and is working to strengthen state finances and meet the challenges of the global economic downturn. Dr. Franc Križanič, Minister of Finance, explains that he has been fighting the global financial crisis for the past year in his role as head of the Ministry of Finance, and that he is hopeful for the future as signs of economic recovery begin to appear around Europe.
The Ministry of Finance’s budget for 2010 to 2011 calls for reducing to 3% the percentage of Slovenia’s public debt in relation to GDP, a decrease of around 2% compared to 2009. The minister says, “Our long-term main objective is to develop a targeted, development-oriented budget that will be completely controlled by indicators which show exactly how well each policy is working, rather than being tied to different ministries as has been the case in the past. We will set priorities in our budget which will be geared to developing a knowledge-based economy in Slovenia. This is our main goal for 2010.” The new budgetary strategy is flexible in that any policies which are not working will be abolished.
New entries welcome in fully liberalised financial sector
Another task for the Ministry of Finance is to set up a new agency which will manage state’s holdings in companies and perform corporate governance of state-owned companies in order to meet OECD standards; this job is currently handled by ministries. The new agency will also manage state’s shares in various funds, including those which finance the country’s pension system. Slovenia has already almost fully privatised its economy with the exception of the energy and telecommunications, while logistics and the financial sector have been partially privatised. “We already have strong competition in our financial sector. Many Slovenian banks and insurance companies have expanded into other markets in South-Eastern Europe and we have many European banks operating here. We have instituted European regulatory standards and we welcome new entries to our very open financial sector,” the minister points out. The Ministry of Finance has also recapitalised the state-owned export and development bank in a €160 million investment.
Dr. Franc Križanič urges European investors to target Slovenia. He says, “Slovenia has a strategic location, developed infrastructure, and educated human resources as well as European standards. Our government is prepared to work with investors and to invest in projects.”