Zagreb - Parliamentary whips of the ruling majority on Thursday commended the proposed budget for 2020 while opposition parties had strong reservations.
The ethnic minorities caucus is satisfied that operational programmes for national minorities have received support, MP Vladimir Bilek said, adding that negotiations on the programmes continued until the very last moment. MP Furio Radin, who represents the Italian minority, said that he was satisfied too.
MP Branko Hrg (HDS/HSLS/HDSSB) listed other positive impacts of the government's policy, such as tax reliefs in the amount of HRK 9 billion, increased direct support for agriculture and the like.
Kažimir Varda of the Labour and Solidarity Party said that he was satisfied that the budget was balanced.
Milorad Pupovac (SDSS) is satisfied that the budget takes account of the institution of ombudsman. He called for more to be done to rebuild infrastructure and create conditions to develop agriculture and tourism in rural areas populated by members of national minorities.
MP Božica Makar (HNS) said that data on the export of commodities and services was encouraging as it is estimated that the share of exports in GDP was expected to increase to 2.6%.
Opposition critical of draft budget
It is obvious that the growth of GDP is slowing down, the government has not managed to put expenditure under control, and most criticism is directed at wages in public administration, MPs Tomislav Panenić and Ante Pranić of the Independent Youth List said.
MP Davor Vlaović (HSS and Democrats) said that more funds should be allocated to renovate schools, as well as for agriculture and the wood-processing industry.
Croatia is once again borrowing, which in the long run is not good, said MP Hrvoje Zekanović (Hrast) noting that Croatia's debt totalled HRK 298 billion while in 2016 it amounted to HRK 274 billion.
Finance Minister Zdravko Marić explained that Croatia was issuing government bonds in order to reschedule and repay bonds and debts from previous periods. "Croatia issued bonds in June valued at €1.5 billion with an interest rate of 1.132% and that money will be used to pay dues of 1.5 billion dollars for which the country was paying an interest rate of 6.75% for ten years, and we will thus save HRK 500 million a year," Marić said.