tomislav panenić.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Damir SENČAR /ds

Presenting his status report on the state of affairs in the economy ministry when he took office, Minister Tomislav Panenic on Thursday told the new government's first formal meeting that 47 investment projects were fully prepared and waiting for approval from the competent commission.

Panenic added that 113 investment projects were in the pipeline, after being drawn up in accordance with the Strategic Investments Act.

Panenic warned that the commission for the approval of 47 projects had to be chaired by a Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the economy and, since the Tihomir Oreskovic cabinet does not have that position, he requested that this matter be solved as soon as possible.

He said that the implementation of the Industry Strategy for the period until 2020 would go on, with an emphasis on the completion of the overhaul of shipyards.

As for the energy segment, Panenic said that his ministry should work on the implementation of strategic projects but it should also take a position on projects such as an LNG terminal on the island of Krk and the exploration and exploitation of oil and gas in the Adriatic, having in mind the Reform Agreement of the sides in the current government.

He announced the elaboration of a new energy strategy.

The new Finance Minister, Zdravko Maric, said the headway made in the previous period included the introduction of fiscal cash registers, pre-bankruptcy settlement for debtors, and legislative changes in the consumer loans.

He, however, warned that a negative phenomenon were frequent tax changes: in 2015 alone there had been four changes to Value Added Tax, five changes to income tax and some changes to contributions.

Maric said he would work on the strengthening of tax security and fulfilling the European Commission recommendations for pulling the country out of the Excessive Deficit Procedure. In this context, he mentioned the elaboration of a strategy for managing public debt, which currently accounts for 90% of Croatia's GDP, Maric noted.

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