Wednesday, 27 April 2022

Finance Minister Talks Tax Refund, Euro, Inflation, Health Debt

ZAGREB, 27 April 2022 - Income tax refunds for 2021 will be paid as of 2 May and 664,000 citizens will receive HRK 1.7 billion in total, while 91,000 citizens have to pay HRK 316 million into the state budget in due taxes, Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said on Wednesday.

Speaking to the press, he said 146,000 of those eligible for a refund were young people and that they would receive HRK 640 million in total.

Marić said the 7.8% inflation the government forecast for this year was the highest in Croatia's recent history.

Earlier today, the government adopted Croatia's convergence programme for 2023-25, which will be sent to Brussels for assessment and is relevant for Croatia's euro area accession.

Marić expects certain information and reports in late May or early Junefrom the European Commission and the European Central Bank, to be followed by the testing of the Maastricht criteria.

He said the inflation growth was not expected to threaten Croatia's accession to the euro area.

Asked if there would be additional anti-inflation measures, Marić said the government was monitoring developments and that action would be taken if necessary and in line with possibilities.

He called on all other actors to stand united so that the slashed VAT rates could have the desired effects in terms of more favourable prices for citizens.

Marić said the current inflationary pressures were much higher than those which might occur with the introduction of the euro. For seven countries which introduced the euro, the effect on inflation was 0.2 to 0.4 percentage points in the first year and it was a one-time effect, he added.

Marić said such increases should not be ignored, so before and after the euro was introduced, prices would be shown in both currencies for a while so that they were not raised without justification.

Asked if the budget deficit forecast for this year, of HRK 13.36 billion or 2.8% of GDP, included additional funds for debts in the health sector, he said some funds would be ensured for that in a budget revision.

He said the revision had not been drawn up yet and that it could be passed in mid-May.

The minister said representatives of drug wholesalers regularly informed him and the minister of health about the debts. "Unfortunately, these debts keep increasing," he said, adding that the health minister and his associates are working on a health reform expected to curb the constant debt growth.

Marić also commented on a Finance Ministry bill that would allow the State Prosecutor's Office, the police, and the customs and tax authorities to access corporate and citizens' bank accounts.

According to the ministry, the bill incorporates the latest EU directive against money laundering, tax evasion and other forms of financial crime.

Marić said that, under the bill, the State Prosecutor's Office and the Interior Ministry first and foremost would have access to the accounts register run by the Financial Agency.

That does not mean they will have access to the amount in the account or transactions, only to basic personal information on the holder, he added, dismissing media claims that the law would give every clerk access to anyone's account.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 10 December 2021

Marić: Croatia's Eurozone Entry to Benefit Economy and Households

ZAGREB, 10 Dec 2021 - There is a strong consensus that accession to the euro area will benefit the Croatian economy and households, Finance Minister Zdravko Marić told reporters in the northern Adriatic resort town of Rovinj on Friday after a conference on this subject organised by the Večernji List newspaper and Istria County. 

That's why Croatia should do all that is necessary to reduce and minimise any negative risks, such as inflation, and take advantage of positive effects, which outnumber negative ones, for the benefit of its economy and citizens, Marić said.

"Over the past few months we have been witnessing price increases, but they have nothing to do with our eurozone entry. That's a global issue caused by disruptions to supply chains and increases in prices of energy and resources," he added.

Noting that inflation was the biggest risk on Croatia's path to eurozone membership, Marić cited statistics showing that inflation had been around 4% in the past several months and around 2.5% for the whole of this year, which puts Croatia "slightly below the EU average."

Croatian National Bank Governor Boris Vujčić said that Croatia was the country that would profit the most from eurozone membership.

"One of the benefits of joining the European monetary union is the reduction of foreign exchange risk, which is biggest in Croatia among all EU countries that have not yet adopted the euro. We have a very high level of euroisation. Most of the debt of all sectors in Croatia, including households, companies and government, is tied to the euro. In kuna, it amounts to over HRK 520 billion, which means that 75% of the debt of all sectors is either in euro or indexed to the euro," Vujčić said.

He added that with entry into the euro area interest rates would start to fall, the sovereign credit rating would increase and Croatia would become more attractive to tourism and investment.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Finance Minister Zdravko Maric Discusses Wage Increase Possibilities

"If we've waited for years, we can carry on waiting for another few months," Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said as a guest of Dnevnik Nova TV last night, answering the question of how long it may take to analyse and implement the adjustment of pay ratios, reports.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 30th of October, 2019, Zdravko Maric has to secure 150 million kuna for compensatory measures until the issue of coefficients is resolved, and when asked if he has the money, he says that this is not planned.

"So, as far as salaries are concerned, you'll see in the budget proposal for next year, of the total budget increase, there are two key items. On the one hand, there is one billion and 700 million kuna more for pensions and retirement benefits. And secondly, the same amount is foreseen for salaries," explained Maric.

"With regard to wage policy, we need to be very clear here. The wage increase is ahead of the proposal to increase the base. But as I said today, and I will say again now - we've opened up a very important topic that is gaining more attention in the media and among the general public," he added, referring to the topic of wages, which has been a burning one of late.

When asked how long it should take to analyse and implement what needs to be done, Maric simply stated that we have already been waiting for years and that essentially, a few more months or so shouldn't hurt.

He added that it's high time we start questioning what we're getting from our public services and noted that certain negative trends had been reversed, and that public debt is declining, that expenditures are being kept under control, that interest rates have fallen and that Croatia's rating has thus improved.

Follow our dedicated politics page for much more.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Zdravko Marić ''Through Adopting Euro We'll Be Able To Raise Living Standards and Prosperity''

With nay-sayers among the public all the more vocal and concerns about a possible Greek scenario taking place all the more widespread, some of Croatia's financial experts answer frequently asked questions...

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Finance Ministry to Investigate Possible Illegalities Found in the Panama Papers

The Panama Papers contain about 40 persons, 20 entities and 27 addresses connected with Croatia.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Survey Says: How Did Croatians Rank Their Government and Ministers?

The people of Croatia have spoken in a survey evaluating their government and it's ministers.