By: Sara Kovač /Nova24tv
“We call on the government to reduce the contributions to our work immediately by 20 percent, and at the same time employers will transfer this part to workers who will have 20 percent higher wages, and the state will get three times back through VAT through the circulation of consumption. The worker must get a salary, and the state will get everything back through consumption, less is more,” said Pišek & HSF director Peter Pišek in the Arena show on RTV Slovenia, who is convinced that the Slovenian economy can still be very successful, despite crises, but they need to talk seriously with the future government and agree on solutions.
The Arena show on RTV Slovenia featured entrepreneurs who expressed their impressions of the new coalition agreement and the possible consequences for them if its provisions are implemented. They also assessed the risks to the Slovenian economy posed by the war in Ukraine. They draw attention to the dialogue and welcome the incentives for the authorities to cooperate with the public or civil society, but at the same time acknowledge that they miss the mention of the economy as an important partner and stakeholder in development. The guests in the show were Branko Meh, President of the Chamber of Crafts, Peter Pišek from the company Pišek HSF, Marko Cigler from Perutninarstvo Cigler, and Matjaž Pavlin from Tourism in Zidanice.
The crisis has affected all sectors, and the current government has saved many with its help
From his own experience, Pišek spoke about the latest pandemic crisis as someone who is involved in a small business. Given that they also have the catering sector, which had to be closed during the pandemic, this also had its consequences, “it was severe, it is still severe today, a big problem is for about 100 employees who were affected at that time”. For the help that the government provided to companies during the crisis, Pišek called it “a pardon for these people not going to the stock exchange, because otherwise the state would have to pay for them there as well”. Given that his company also deals with logistics, he said that part of the transport was also closed during the pandemic, but transportation was faced with less problems. As the main problem, Pišek points out the lack of staff, “there are no people, there is no professional profile of people”, he said.
Pavlin, whose company is engaged in tourism, which was also one of the most affected sectors. He agreed that everyone suffered the same fate, everyone, including the measures brought by the pandemic, shocked them. “Tourist vouchers not only saved our existence, but also had a long-term effect. Slovenians have started to explore our homeland more, which we did not do before. We had one-off impressions,” he said. Cigler, who works in agriculture and the economy, where he continues the family tradition, said “that agriculture has not decreased in the last two years, it has even increased, but now the economy is under attack. The covid crisis has exacerbated the situation in agriculture, which was not exactly exemplary. In the economy, there have been changes in strategic planning.” At the same time, Branko Meh emphasised good economic growth, and above all emphasised the help of the state, which has made an extraordinary contribution to this.
The biggest problem is the lack of staff
The leader Igor Pirkovič and his guests also touched on the thoughts of the future Prime Minister Robert Golob on helping the economy, for which he has a clear vision, which he does not intend to give up, regardless of criticism from the current government and other economists. Namely, economists do not agree that tax legislation is being changed, nor do they agree with part-time work. Golob replies that he will follow the Scandinavian models, which represent the most developed economy, and that those who think differently want the Slovenes to remain a nation of farmhands. Pišek comments on Golob’s announcement based on experience, saying that he agrees with Golob on creating jobs that create high added value, but there are fewer of these than the opposite. “We support rewarding employees, but we face the problem when we do not have people for jobs, so we have to create them, we also take people from other countries, where there are complications again with the bureaucracy with permits.” Economists agree with Pišek, Pavlin worries that the coalition agreement does not state anything related to tourism, he points out the challenges and the lack of staff.
Given that the crisis has affected both employees and employers who are responsible to employees and are obliged to pay wages to workers every month, Pirkovič also touched on their feelings or fears that they may have had during the covid crisis, when they may have found that they would not be able to pay their salaries on time. They unanimously said that they have survived many crises and that family businesses have survived because all employees are part of the family, “the most important thing at the moment is personnel, this moment without them there is no existence, no development”.
According to Pišek, the system of progressive taxation for the economy means the creation of a disincentive environment, he also emphasised the importance of the Chamber of Crafts for Slovenia, which is its compass. “There is no promise of anything good at the moment,” Pavlin said. “Therefore, employment relationships should be as flexible as possible and not the other way around, as predicted by the future government, especially in terms of seasonal work, which is a common problem in tourism.”
Regarding the tax “norms” from the new coalition agreement, Pavlin claimed that countries with high taxes absolutely earn less than those with lower taxes. Cigler added that companies are generally socially responsible and contribute to the well-being of the state, believing that by creating a stimulating environment, they expand production and thus benefit the state. Restricting the grey and black economy is also a goal of the Slovenian economy, which could be limited by lowering taxes and contributions, so they agree that lower taxes are certainly important for the development of the Slovenian economy, especially in terms of taxation of workers’ wages. “We call on the government to reduce the contributions to our work immediately by 20 percent, and at the same time employers will transfer this part to workers who will have 20 percent higher wages, and the state will get three times back through VAT through the circulation of consumption. The worker must get a salary, and the state will get everything back through consumption, less is more,” Pišek called on the government.
Companies are considering moving abroad
In terms of nationalisation, the coalition agreement is supposed to be a great touch of the Levica party, which Meh agrees, pointing out that this was also written in the programme of the Levica party, which later withdrew it from its programme. Craftsmen do not understand why the opinion of the Levica, which was in the minority, is considered so much. My company is a small company, and we are still here, I think we will overcome this crisis, but with this coalition agreement the forecasts are not exactly the best, said Meh, who hopes that the coalition agreement will be changed before it is adopted. Economists claim that they have nothing against the future government but want to talk and agree on solutions that will be development for the Slovenian economy, especially considering that many Slovenian companies are considering moving abroad, which is worrying, said Pišek.
“Energy prices have cut sharply in agriculture, here I will be a very critical interlocutor of the future government, we demand that things be settled quickly, because such a situation is not sustainable. Food security is paramount,” said Cigler. Meh agrees with him, stressing how big the impact of the Ukrainian crisis is and recalling Golob’s promise when he said he would stabilise energy prices.