Business News


Business Wishlist: Lower Taxes, Development Boost

Ljubljana, 13 August (STA) - Slovenian business organisations have issued a wishlist to the government in which they ask for more $breathing room$ through the lowering of taxes and measures to boost development and competitiveness.

In a document unveiled on Tuesday, the organisations urge the government to move quickly with structural reforms and in fixing the ailing banking sector.

The biggest emphasis of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), Chamber of Trade Crafts and Small Business (OZS), the Chamber of Commerce (TZS), the Employers' Association, the Association of Trade Crafts Employers and the Manager Association is on creating a climate friendly to business.

The organisations say that new taxes are unacceptable while the government needs to begin implementing measures to reduce the tax wedge.

A new real estate tax must not raise the current taxation levels on property, save in cases of real estate that has not been taxed until now.

The "Oxygen for Business" document includes many of the recommendations that the business sector has been repeating in recent years.

Business argues that in place of high taxes, budget revenues should rely on more effective collection of taxes, while public spending needs to be lowered through measures to create a leaner public sector.

It also calls for a determined fight on the informal economy and results-based tax collection methods.

Illegal builds should faces high fines while a system must be established for legalising builds through the payment of special fees.

Moreover, the document calls for welfare contributions to be capped to maximum levels in line with the practice in most developed countries.

In order to promote development and competitiveness, the government needs to cut red tape and speed up procedures in approving investments.

It should also prepare an action plan for additional support to exporters and the tourism sector and a strategy for attracting foreign investment.

Urging the government to include it in planning of measures, it calls for the creation of a business ombudsman and a body that would deal with disagreements between companies and the state apparatus.

It also calls for more effective management of state assets, saying that the government should order an international benchmark assessment of the yield on state assets.

Among the structural reforms deemed urgent by business are "sustainable and effective" overhauls of healthcare, the labour market and the pension system.

Suggesting that the recent labour and pension reforms did not go far enough, the organisations say that greater flexibility needs to be established in the labour market while the pension system needs additional fixes to make it sustainable.

They also reiterate that the banking system needs to be fixed quickly so that banks can service the needs of business under competitive terms.

In order to achieve this, the state must speed up efforts to transfer toxic assets from the leading banks to the bad bank and provide for the necessary fresh capital or undertake privatisation.

Efforts must also be made to help companies deleverage through restructuring, whereby the government should be ready to provide aid to those found to have realistic restructuring plans in an independent review.

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