Nova24TV English

Slovenian News In ENGLISH

Golob Has Announced A Bank Tax, Even Though Other Solutions Are Available

Prime Minister Robert Golob announced a 0.2% statutory tax on banks’ balance sheets on a recent episode of the show Odmevi (Echoes). Apparently, taxes are the only way for this government to deal with the matters, and it sees this as a solution for the banking sector to help in the post-flood reconstruction, although there are other solutions available, too. One of them was mentioned on the social network X, and the leader of the opposition, Janez Janša, also said the option in question is worth considering.

A month has already passed since the catastrophic floods, and in that time, the government has been promising fast aid and an efficient, long-term and transparent reconstruction. Damage estimates are constantly changing, with the first more precise figures expected on the 8th of September. Prime Minister Robert Golob sees new taxation as the solution that would enable banks to help, too, although there are other possible solutions that would be much more favourable for all stakeholders.

After many speculations on how the banking sector will help in the post-flood recovery, Robert Golob said on the show Odmevi that Slovenia will also move towards a new bank tax. Namely, the government intends to tax banks’ balance sheets by 0.2%. Golob also criticised the banks on the show and declared war on them with the proposal to tax them by law. In addition, he also ensured that Slovenia would introduce taxation based on the balance sheet total of the banks, as, according to him, other countries are doing the same thing, and Slovenia should be no exception. “This will most likely be laid down in the Reconstruction and Development Act, where the balance sheet totals of banks will be taxed at 0.2 percent,” Golob explained.

However, to find help for the post-flood reconstruction, he could have looked for another, more efficient and more useful solution, such as the one pointed out by Sergej Berišaj, Chief Technology Officer at the company United Cloud, on his social media profile on X. Berišaj explained that clients have tens of billions of euros in the banks and that the Prime Minister is currently “fighting a holy war with the banks” because the interest on savings accounts is practically zero. Berišaj argued that instead of taxing the banks further and introducing solidarity contributions, the purchase of treasury bills should be democratised and simplified, thus giving Slovenia some much-needed funding directly from its citizens.

A product that would help citizens and banks

He had a specific product or mobile application in mind, which, as he explained, would “offer the purchase of bills of different maturities (1/2/5/10/20/30 years, I’m talking off the top of my head) and automatically calculate the interest rate and clearly show the gross and net earnings to the user. When the user decides to buy treasury bills, a QR code is generated for the user to make a transfer from their personal account (maybe with Flik or direct debit, why not?). Upon receipt of the transfer, the app sends a notification and clearly displays the status of all investments. When the funds are released, a notification is sent where the user can choose to either transfer the money to a personal account (the country has a base anyway) or reinvest in a new cycle. The state could then further reward reinvestment by exempting the reinvested part from the capital gains tax, and the paid-out part would earn interest as deposits do today (0% tax rate up to 1,000 euros per year, and anything above 1,000 euros would be taxed as dividends). This would allow the state to introduce a product that is a direct competitor to the banks and would also allow citizens to invest directly,” Berišaj explained.

The company United Cloud was established in 2016. Since the launch of EON TV, their flagship platform in 2017, their portfolio has grown to 10 highly synergistic product lines within the telecom and media ecosystems, available in markets with 40 million people. This makes them one of the fastest-growing technology companies in the region, having grown from local to regional in just six years, in addition to introducing innovations in the TV and media space. Their growing team has over 300 technology professionals in software development, product management, UX/UI design, Agile, etc.

President of the Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka – SDS), Janez Janša, who shared his opinion on the social media X, also believes that this is “a proposal worth considering.”

During the programme, the host of the show Odmevi also asked the Prime Minister whether the entire reconstruction process would be transparent and whether information about it would be available to everyone. In this context, Golob again mentioned the two intervention laws that have been adopted to help the flood victims, although they have not yet received any actual help, judging by people’s reactions, even though a month has already passed since the floods hit. As far as the banks are concerned, we all know that Golob sees the banks as the ‘winners’ of recent years, also in terms of extreme profits. He said that they would make a “deal, which will be part of a law. It will most probably be in the Reconstruction and Development Act. In it, there will be a tax on banks, a 0.2% tax on the balance sheet of banks”, he said.

Golob: Those who will not work on a Saturday will have to pay

The host of the show, Igor E. Bergant, also reminded the Prime Minister of a question posed by the newspaper Finance, namely why the government, through the Slovenian Sovereign Holding, does not advocate the payment of dividends to the state budget, as some companies also use this option if the budgetary needs are such. Golob made the excuse that a single source is not enough and that sources must be “combined,” which once again means that the burden will fall on the shoulders of the taxpayers, who are required by the government to work two solidarity Saturdays – “someone on an average salary, if he does not partake in a working Saturday, will have to pay 73 euros a year. We have to be aware of the dimensions and the size of what we are talking about”, Golob apathetically stressed.

T. B.

Share on social media