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MPs Back Government's Plan to Scrap Energy Excise Hike

Ljubljana, 19 October (STA) - The National Assembly passed on Tuesday amendments to the excise duty act preventing the rise in excise on electricity and gas effective due to take effect on 1 November. The government amended the act as a response to calls from business regarding energy costs.

Finance Ministry State Secretary Mateja Vranicar told the MPs this was a compromise solution with businesses, adding that this was a stop-gap measure and the government would monitor the situation and propose changes if necessary.

The duties will remain at the level of 1 August, that is at EUR 3.05 per gigawatt hour instead of the planned EUR 12.10 for electricity and at 1.8 cents per cubic metre of gas instead of 3.63 cents.

Higher excise would have raised budget revenue by EUR 8m this year and EUR 103m in 2011.

The decision to scrap the plan to increase excises for electricity and gas came after the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) said that a study of the first phase of the hike was enforced in August clearly demonstrated the serious negative effects of the higher excise duties on companies' competitiveness.

Finance Minister Franc Krizanic said on 30 September when the government adopted the amendments that this would uphold economic competitiveness and stimulate exports. The amendments are especially important at the moment, when the euro is strong in international markets, he added.

In order to find a better and lasting solution for the future, the Finance Ministry has also proposed setting up a mixed working group that would also include representatives of the GZS and the Economy Ministry to draw up a excise refunds system for companies based on the Austrian or German model.

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