BELGRADE – Serbian Minister of Finance Lazar Krstic has expressed expectation that the number of new employees will at least be equal with the number of layoffs in 2014.
Answering a reporter’s question whether there will be more layoffs or new jobs in 2014, Krstic said for Radio and Television of Serbia on Wednesday evening that the answer to this question is in the Fiscal Strategy for 2014, and expressed his personal expectation that the number of layoffs and new jobs will be equal.
Creation of jobs is expected primarily in the private sector, he said.
Krstic said that the social program envisages funds for the dismissal of 20,000 employees at the most next year, and the increase in unemployment will depend on the success in attracting foreign investments and foreign partners and the success of the economic reform.
Serbia needs a new labor law, not only for the sake of creation of jobs in the private sector, but also for greater efficiency in the public sector, Krstic said.
Krstic announced that the new labor law will be tabled before the government in January, adding that he expects that the law will be adopted through a dialogue between the interested parties.
“During the first nine months in 2014 it should be defined what the taxation system should be like, particularly the property tax and the construction land fee, bearing in mind that the collection of these taxes will be transferred to the local self-government,” he said.
“Reforms lie ahead in 2014 and their implementation will bring about hope and certainty, and if we manage to do that by the end of next year, new investments and jobs will appear,” Krstic said.
When it comes to financing of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, Krstic announced a meeting of the working group on Friday which is to define Vojvodina’s competences and how much funds the province needs for that in keeping with the Constitution.
Krstic said that the official talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will kick off in February on possible precautionary arrangement, adding that this arrangement should secure Serbia’s credibility among investors and creditors.
Commenting on the debate on early parliamentary elections, Krstic said that uncertainty has been created whether or not the early elections will take place next year, which is not good for public finances.
“Uncertainty is not good bearing in mind that reforms, change of the taxation system and other tasks are ahead of us,” the minister said.
Radulovic: Loss of jobs necessary part of reforms
Minister of Economy Sasa Radulovic has said that 2014 will be a tough year, but also the year of deep reforms of the system, adding that he would prefer the reforms that would imply no loss of jobs, but that is not possible.
Slow changes certainly lead to a decline, we need deep reforms of the system, Radulovic said in an interview published in the Thursday issue of the Belgrade-based daily Politika.
As the most important causes of Serbia’s economic decline, the minister of economy mentioned the labor law, ridiculous labor taxes, criminal privatization and partocratic economy.
“I would like us all to live better without comprehensive reforms, and that no one loses a job, but that is not feasible, unfortunately,” Radulovic said, underlining that the main opponents of the reforms are those who benefited from the eroded system, who are now parasites of the society.
The minister added that the reforms also mean the strengthening of undermined institutions of the system, adherence to the rules and abolition of the tyranny of individuals.
“Readiness for reforms will be measured by readiness to pass key laws and begin implementing them consistently- laws on labor, planning and construction, bankruptcy proceedings and public companies. However, that is only the beginning. 2014 will be a difficult year and has to be the year of deep reforms of all social systems,” Radulovic said.
He underscored that it depends on the depth and success of reforms whether Serbia will have a bigger economic growth in 2015, and whether the economy will yield profit, invest and create jobs.
“The state should not open plants or create jobs. The economy should do that,” Radulovic said.