Nova24TV English

Slovenian News In ENGLISH

Economists And Businesspeople Warn: On the 14th And 15th Of August, We Will Irretrievably Lose 180 Million Euros!

“We really do not have the time to play games here, the government should rethink its decision and also think about how best to prevent the loss of added value,” Dr Rok Spruk of the Faculty of Economics, who, like other economists and businesspeople, is concerned about the government’s reckless measures, told the national media outlet. The 14th of August – which the Golob government wants to declare a work-free day – together with the 15th of August, which is a national holiday and thus also a work-free day, would result in an additional loss of 180 million euros in the current situation, when Slovenia is already exhausted.

The National Assembly has adopted an amendment to the law on faster recovery from natural disasters as part of a legislative package, which also includes making the 14th of August a work-free day. The opposition Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka – SDS) and News Slovenia party (Nova Slovenija – NSi) opposed this decision on several grounds. Economists and businesspeople also believe the measure to be reckless. They explain that it will create additional costs. After the first meeting between the government and representatives of municipalities and the economy, there was initial praise for the responsiveness of the authorities, but enthusiasm quickly waned because, as economists have noted, the damage could be compounded by the government’s measures.

“To start with, the government could just adjust some of the measures that were used during the Covid-19 epidemic, when the state financed the full amount of employees’ salaries while they were temporarily laid off,” Vesna Nahtigal, Director-General of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, told Radio-Television Slovenia, adding that this had been explicitly stated at the meeting and she was convinced that it would be a much more appropriate measure. However, the state will now only cover 80 percent of the compensation for employees that have been temporarily laid off, and this time the situation is even worse for the companies, as some of them have been practically destroyed by the floods and it will take much longer to rehabilitate them and get them back to work. As most of the money will be spent on rehabilitation, the business community is holding its own, and experts estimate that the damage caused by the floods will be as much as ten times higher than the government’s initial estimates.

Dr Rok Spruk from the Faculty of Economics explained that 5 billion euros is 7 percent of Slovenia’s GDP and stressed that “we really do not have the time to play games here, the government should rethink its decision and also think about how best to prevent the loss of added value,” because, as the article explains, each working day means an average of 90 million euros of added value, which means that an extra day off on the 14th of August would mean a loss of 180 million euros of added value, which Slovenia cannot afford at the moment. That this is a “populist and counterproductive measure,” both from an economic point of view and from a social and political one, is the opinion of Bogomir Kovač of the Faculty of Economics, who says that the government should have been more thoughtful in its decision.

“I am again calling to the government to make the 14th and the 15th of August working days, as we are talking about the loss of 180 million euros that Slovenia will otherwise never see from the European Solidarity Fund, never,” Dr Spruk was clear.

The work-free day is expected to mean an extra day off for those who want to extend their holidays, so the government is already considering cancelling this measure, according to a national media report, and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry is proposing to make Monday a working day with the proceeds going to those most affected by the recent floods, while the tradespeople believe that only volunteers helping those affected with the reconstruction work should get the day off.

Tanja Brkić

Share on social media