Monday, 11 May 2020

COVID-19 in Croatia: 86 Tons of Protective Equipment Arrives on Final Shanghai Flight

May 11, 2020 - SF Airlines landed at Zagreb's Franjo Tudjman International Airport early Sunday morning on a direct flight from Shanghai and delivered about 86 tons of protective equipment to Croatia needed by the Croatian health system and other services during the coronavirus pandemic. reports that this is the seventh and so far the last shipment on direct flights from China to Croatia, the Public Relations Office of the Prime Minister's Office announced.

As pointed out, ensuring the supply of health and other systems with protective equipment is planned to continue with the delivery by land and sea.

About 80 tons of disinfectants and masks that Croatia bought from Sinopharm and about six tons of donations arrived on Sunday's flight.

A valuable donation of mechanical fans, coronavirus tests, and masks and visors from the Alibaba Foundation and the Jack Ma Foundation were delivered on the flight. It is a donation that is part of a series of similar initiatives by the two foundations to provide relief to parts of the world affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The foundations also fund vaccine research and development in China, as well as at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne and Columbia University in New York.

During the summer, donations from MEHECO Clinic for Infectious Diseases "Dr. Fran Mihaljević", Zhejiang Province to Istria County, donations to the Civil Protection Headquarters of the CitizenGO initiative and entrepreneur Mr. Cai Yu, responsible for opening the franchise of the Zagreb Museum of Illusions in Shanghai, were delivered.

Recall, on April 12, a direct flight from Shanghai brought around 60 tons of protective equipment to Zagreb for the Croatian health system and other services fighting the coronavirus pandemic, which was the first shipment of this kind since the outbreak of COVID-19.

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Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Coronavirus to Cost Thousands of Jobs, Steep Drops in Wages

March 31, 2020 — The coronavirus’s first non-medical victims are 8,000 workers facing unemployment, as well as 300,000 others facing steep paycuts down to minimum wage, according to Vecernji List.

The stark The Tax Administration yesterday said it received 39,047 requests from companies and craftsmen to delay their payment of taxes; one-third of the requests came from the hotel and catering industry.

In addition to companies and entrepreneurs who are banned from working, others with a drop in income of more than 20 percent, including the self-employed can count on government assistance in paying wages.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic’s government met on Monday to create a new package of measures to alleviate the problems of entrepreneurs during the coronavirus epidemic. The measures reportedly include a freeze on administrative fees and compulsory contributions to the Ministry of Economy. Officials expect the plan will be adopted this week.

Under the proposal, oft-lamented fees would not be charged over the next three months, with an option to extend the measures if necessary. The cutback on compulsory payments would also include government fees for water usage, radio frequencies, and membership fees for the Croatian National Tourism Board, among others.

Sources told Vecernji some fee cancellations experienced headwinds, particularly the compulsory charge for Croatian Radio Television (HRT) service.

The Economic Ministry says some of the benefits now being discussed will be permanently abolished, in line with the plans for administrative relief already in the works before the crisis.

There are also rumors from Brussels that the minimum support given by the European Commission will be raised from the current €200,000 will be raised to €1 million.

In the two weeks of isolation, the number of unemployed citizens registered with the Employment Service increased by more than 6,000, but also information that three thousand workers had found a job. The fees cancellations would come as many small businesses worry for their future.

Croatia has approximately 100,000 active legal entities and about 80 thousand craftsmen. Already in the first week of implementation of the coronavirus measures, every fourth craftsman and every fifth company requested a tax deferral. 

The hospitality and tourism sector had 12,804 requests, the most of any.  More than 800 entrepreneurs from the health and social care systems, 762 from information and communication activities, and 639 from real estate businesses are also seeking a delay.

There is a lot of focus on public sector salaries as well. The Institute for Public Finance calculated that reducing public sector salaries would do more harm than good at the moment. 

Cutting the salaries of employees in institutions and companies where the government is the predominant employer would bring relatively modest savings of 0.38 to 1.22 percent of GDP annually, while the negative consequences would be much greater.

The negatives include a fall in citizens' living standards, a fall in spending, a loss of staff, the collapse of public institutions, and an even greater decline in GDP. However, the authors of the analysis do not dispute that, when the crisis is over, public sector wage cuts will eventually come to a head.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Coronavirus Hits Tourism: Dubrovnik Projecting 30 Million Kuna Loss in First Half of 2020

March 11, 2020 - The City of Dubrovnik is monitoring the development of the situation and is looking at the effects that the spread of the virus has on the local economy, which relies mainly on tourism.

Dalmacija Danas reports that Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic and his associates held a meeting with Dubrovnik Tourist Board Director Ana Hrnic, members of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board Tourism Council and representatives of tourism-related professional associations on Tuesday, followed by a press conference to draw conclusions about the impact of the coronavirus in tourism as the most important economic branch in the Dubrovnik area.

Mayor Mato Frankovic expressed satisfaction with the way in which the national epidemic was approached nationally. He said the City of Dubrovnik is monitoring the situation and looking at the effects that the spread of the virus has on the local economy, which relies mostly on tourism.

“Our expert services have made rough estimates of the financial structure of revenues in the first six months, and they tell us that as a unit of local self-government, we will earn less than 30 million kuna in that period, but we are ready to adapt to any new situation,” the mayor said. He adds that this roughly estimated loss will be offset by surplus revenue generated in 2019, which will be spread over the May budget revision.

“After June, we will re-examine the situation and make further decisions regarding maintaining financial stability in the public sector,” the mayor announced, noting that we must be prepared for each scenario. He also expressed the readiness of the City to support the business people through various measures. If the situation with the coronavirus extended to the main season, it would also help businesses.

Director of the Tourist Board Ana Hrnic and a member of the Tourist Council Stanko Ljubic also spoke at the press conference.

“This situation is affecting tourism globally and we need to prepare ourselves as best we can. There will definitely be an impact on Dubrovnik tourism, but we must work to make the impact as mild as possible,” said Hrnic.

The Mayor concluded that the City of Dubrovnik fully respects the hierarchy of competences in the public health sense and will continue to act in accordance with the recommendations of the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia, according to the City pages.

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