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Govt Aims for First Toxic Assets Transfer by End-September

Ljubljana, 26 July (STA) - The government aims to have the first transfer of toxic assets from state-owned banks to the bad bank take place by the end of September, indicates a working document adopted by the cabinet on Thursday.

The new aim has been set down in the government's work plan for the remainder of the year and 2014, which it adopted on Thursday and made public on Friday.

In the document, the fixing of the banking system is labelled a priority for this period along with the balancing of public finances and the restarting of the economy.

The setting of the new target date for the first transfer of toxic assets to the Bank Asset Management Company (BAMC) suggests that the government has given up on trying to carry out a pilot transfer before then.

The pilot transfer, initially scheduled for the end of June, was postponed several times because of European Commission demands for an independent review of bank assets and capital prior to the transfer of toxic assets.

As part of measures aimed at shoring up banks, the government also plans to draft changes to the bank stability act which would enable private capital to enter BAMC and would extend its operations from five to 15 years.

The government also intends to set up the Slovenia Sovereign Holding as a means of managing state assets in the autumn. To this effect it plans to adopt a comprehensive strategy for managing state asset holdings.

Based on this strategy, the government will launch privatisation of non-strategic assets in new rounds of privatisation that are to follow the current effort to sell stakes in 15 companies, including the NKBM bank and telco Telekom Slovenije.

Efforts to balance public finances are to include the adoption of the real estate tax by the end of the year and measures to improve the efficiency of the collection of taxes and the reduction of the informal economy.

In this respect, the government will merge the tax and customs administrations and adopt a number of changes to tax legislation, including the controversial changes to the income tax act that would abolish automatic indexation of tax brackets and breaks.

The government also plans to seek agreement in parliament on the implementation act for the golden fiscal rule, which was entered into the Constitution in May.

The government programme furthermore envisages a series of measures which have already been unveiled, including an aid scheme for companies to be operated by the SID export bank.

The adoption of key strategic development documents, drafting of operational programmes for drawing EU funds in the 2014-2020 EU budget period and efforts to boost EU fund phasing are also planned.

Moreover, the government promises to focus on adopting legislation aimed at cutting red tape, promoting foreign direct investments and helping Slovenian tourism and companies go global.

The plan sets down measures for promoting a reduction in unemployment, including by strengthening oversight of the labour market. A new bill dealing with student work is scheduled to be adopted by 31 March 2014.

A resolution on family policy that will be part of the government's measures to promote equal opportunities and reaching consensus on urgent changes in family policy is scheduled to be drafted by 1 March 2014.

The government also pledges in its programme to continue stepping up the fight on corruption, including by adopting changes to the integrity and corruption prevention act that would strengthen the powers of the Corruption Prevention Commission by the second half of 2014.

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