Ljubljana, 26 October (STA) - The Economic Development and Technology Ministry has increased the funds allocated for foreign direct investment this year from EUR 4.5m to EUR 6.2m. Minister Radovan Žerjav said the state would co-finance 15 investment projects worth EUR 36.5m which are to create more than 500 jobs.
"The interest for investments in Slovenia exists," the minister highlighted at Friday's press conference in Ljubljana presenting the results of the public call for application for the funds intended to encourage FDI.
But Žerjav thinks that in order to make Slovenia's business environment appealing to foreign investors the country will need to "do its homework".
A total of 24 investment projects applied to the call for applications, 15 of which met all the conditions. Six investors will be investing in Slovenia for the first time.
The selected projects will enable 507 people to get a job in the three years after the conclusion of the investment at the latest.
Žerjav said he was happy to see the chosen projects relatively equally distributed among Slovenia's regions.
Of the 15 projects, 11 will be realised in the processing industry, three in R&D and one in the services sector.
According to the head of the Public Agency for Entrepreneurship and Foreign Investments (JAPTI), Igor Plesetnjak, three projects are from the US. "We have American investors and we are preserving the 15-20% share of investments in R&D."
According to the minister, the goal of the first call for applications, which was published in the Official Gazette on 29 June was to create 200 new jobs and to exceed the value of the applied projects three-fold compared to the money allocated by the state.
Both goals were not only achieved but even exceeded - the number of new jobs to be created was exceeded by more than twice and the value of investments will increase six-fold.
"I'm very happy with the response to this call. It exceeded our expectations," Žerjav said, adding that this was also the reason why additional funds had been provided.
The increase in funds in the public call that will be published in the Official Gazette today will enable cofunding of all the investment projects that applied and were positively assessed.
Thus the ministry showed flexibility, "and our great desire and wish to back these foreign direct investments that exist", the minister explained.
He sees FDI as one of the key potentials of Slovenia to kick-start its economy.
Žerjav said Slovenia's advantages were its geostrategic position and know-how, innovation. Its disadvantages on the other hand are labour legislation and the power of trade unions, he said.
Plestenjak noted that the state gave out EUR 34m to encourage FDI over the past five years. This brought EUR 220m of investments to Slovenia and created 3,700 new jobs.