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Slovenia Needs to Open Up to FDI, IMAD Boss Says

Koper, 15 October (STA) - Fiscal consolidation and bank restructuring are crucial but other measures, including opening up to foreign investments, will be needed to foster economic growth, the head of the government's macroeconomic think tank IMAD, Boštjan Vasle, told businessmen in Koper on Monday evening.

Vasle told the Club of Businessmen from Slovenian Istria that many companies would be better managed by foreigners, rejecting remarks by the businessmen that foreigners would invest for speculative reasons.

"Our economy is still fairly closed...,which means that we have not dedicated sufficient attention to privatisation," Vasle told the STA after he delivered the talk.

He said the shortcomings in corporate governance caused by the lack of privatisation were an "important factor behind the relatively poor conditions we're currently seeing".

While his advocacy of foreign direct investment elicited strong reactions from the crowd, the head of the business club, Vojko Čok, noted that Slovenia had overwhelmingly positive experience with foreign investors.

"Many companies would be in serious trouble without these investors, if they survived at all," said Čok, a former CEO of the Italian-owned bank Banka Koper.

During privatisation there was too much emphasis on the proceeds and not enough awareness that the owners need to recoup their investment through successful company performance, he said.

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