By: Sara Kovač / Nova 24TV
“Who pays for all this? Who pays for new ministries, new jobs, new premises, new apparatus? Taxpayers, that is, all residents and businesses,” SDS MP Branko Grims pointed out about Golob government’s intention to further increase the administration on the N1 show in the confrontation with the Minister of Public Administration Sanja Ajanović Hovnik.
Ahead of us is a referendum, which will decide the fate of three harmful laws of Golob’s government, the purpose of which is to abolish long-term care, politicise the public RTV Slovenia, and enrich the bureaucracy. Instead of shrinking the number of ministries in these difficult times, Golob’s government decided to expand them completely without reason. The increase in the number of ministries from 17 to 20 consequently means higher costs and burdens for taxpayers. Considering who will occupy the ministerial positions in the newly established portfolios, it is more than clear that it is clearly necessary to provide well-paid jobs to the politicians who failed to make it to the parliament in the parliamentary elections. For example, the coordinator of the Levica party, Luka Mesec, managed to select the leadership of the Ministry for a Solidarity Future, which is truly unique in the world.
The Minister of Public Administration, Sanja Ajanović Hovnik, as a sign of justification for the increase in the number of ministries to twenty, said that this should result in the systematisation of the government and the regulation of its operation in a way that would lead to the realisation of the set priorities. Since there is practically no meaningful rounding of areas after the amendment of the law, it is not surprising that there is no lack of criticism of the Golob’s government’s law. Although it is clear to everyone that the bigger the bureaucracy, the higher the costs, the minister insisted that the reorganisation should not mean an increase in the apparatus, and the law should also indicate that financial consequences are not foreseen.
MP Branko Grims explained that the blocking of the law on the government, which envisages enrichment at a time when people are forced to face high inflation, occurred because it brings about the exhaustion of Slovenians and entrepreneurship, which the current government is implementing by raising taxes and high inflation. “The government wants to increase the number of ministries in such a way that it will be a new record,” Branko Grims explained to N1 and, in light of this, pointed to new recruitment, and thus to the expansion of the bureaucratic apparatus that the new law will bring. “Slovenian taxpayers are paying for all this, that is why I am against it,” he was clear.
As the minister was not satisfied with the criticism of MP Grims, she criticised Grims for accelerated recruitment towards the end of the previous government and said at the expense of the SDS party that it also did not reduce the administrative apparatus, as if it would be the same if the number of ministries was maintained or increased. In light of this, she finds it ridiculous that they are accused of increasing costs and burdening companies, since Golob’s government only wants to “efficiently organise” work. Since the increase in the bureaucratic apparatus brings additional costs, she once again warned that the adoption of the law would mean an increase in the burden on taxpayers. “Who pays for all this? Who pays for new ministries, new jobs, new premises, new apparatus? Taxpayers, that is, all residents and businesses,” he asserted, adding that Golob’s government is raising taxes so that money can be allocated to new ministries, new jobs, and non-governmental organisations. “We lowered taxes, you raise them,” Grims emphasised.
Grims: The claim that the new arrangement will not cost a single euro more is absolutely impossible
The Minister of Public Administration further asserted that people who are already employed will be employed in accordance with this law. It is supposed to be about moving sectors between ministries. However, since it is difficult to claim that there will be no new jobs, she then added as an excuse: “If there will be new jobs, it will be due to new programmes that have not been implemented so far”. Grims emphasised that the claim that the new arrangement will not cost a single euro more is completely impossible. With the implementation of the law, three new official salaries for new ministers will appear, and each of the ministers will also need their own cabinet. Since the minister knows that it is impossible to claim that the costs will be exactly the same as now, she asserted the following: “As state secretaries, the future ministers may have a hundred euros lower salary than they will have in the ministerial position”.
The president of the SAB party, who drowned in the Gibanje Svoboda, Alenka Bratušek, is the one who, for example, now holds the position of state secretary at the Ministry of Infrastructure, but if people do not go to the referendum and vote against it, she will then take over the leadership of the ministry. In the confrontation, Grims was critical of people who had failed in the parliamentary elections becoming ministers. “The people should pay for the new official positions for Alenka Bratušek and the others, whom the voters showed their hand – out of the parliament,” he said critically.
Since what was said was not acceptable to the minister, she repeated what had already been said several times on the government’s side, how the SDS party would not be able to come to terms with defeat in the elections. “In reality, it is just teasing,” she said, to which he told her, as a sign of the same logic, that he could say that the Gibanje Svoboda party did not accept the fact that the SDS party was the winner of the local elections. At the same time, he reiterated that the party will not support the one who brings an increase in spending in a period when the crisis is knocking on the door.
The coordinator of the Levica party, who is expected to lead the Ministry for a Solidary Future, even himself questioned the sense of establishing the mentioned ministry. He thinks it is too late for something like this, and he also informed the Prime Minister about it. Since Golob did not like the idea of the spread of bureaucracy being raised by someone from within his own ranks, he commented that the ministry will happen. The minister said at the meeting that, due to Mesec’s concerns, it could happen that someone else would lead the ministry, and he would continue to lead the Ministry of Labour.
At the very end of the confrontation, Grims emphasised that the law should be rejected in the referendum because all tasks can be performed within the framework of the existing ministries. “We are already at the top among EU countries in terms of the number of ministries, but if the increase were accepted, we would be the absolute European record holders,” he was critical, adding that the financial burden will fall on taxpayers.