ivan vrdoljak.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Miljenko KLEPAC/ ik

Economy Minister Ivan Vrdoljak on Monday announced that the gas price for households would be reduced by 10%.

"We have already reduced the price of gas for households by 5% - 7% and as of the beginning of April we will reduce it by a further 10%," Vrdoljak told reporters after meeting the management and supervisory boards at the Petrokemija artificial fertiliser company, to analyse the company's business operations for the past three years.

He added that over the past three years the government had reduced the price of gas for industry by 17%.

Despite all the setbacks, debts, high prices of gas and of capital, the Kutina-based Petrokemija has been salvaged and is still operating, Vrdoljak said.

Asked by reporters about the situation in the Sisak oil refinery, he announced that it too would be "salvaged" adding though that if the government were to change the Sisak refinery would not work. "There is an agreement made by the current Opposition to shut down that refinery over the next few months," he warned.

Finance Minister Boris Lalovac said that he had discussed financing for Petrokemija via the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development  (HBOR) considering the expensive loans that the company is currently paying. "We will investigate the possibility of financing through HBOR, similar to those in tourism, long-term loans with two or three years' grace period and low interest rates," said Lalovac. He said that the possibility of an intermediate Value Added Tax rate of 13% for artificial fertilisers was also discussed.

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