Finance Minister Zdravko Maric announced on Thursday that the government would soon unveil a comprehensive package of amendments to tax legislation, which might enter into force next year.
"The plan is to come out with a comprehensive package of changes to the tax system over the next two or two and a half months," Maric said at a conference organised by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham).
After a thorough analysis, initial changes are possible as early as next year, the minister said, adding that the tax system must be simplified, transparent, effective and competitive to ensure a satisfactory level of tax stability and an investment-friendly environment.
"We will have a comprehensive solution very soon and we will present it to the public then," Maric said.
He said that the purpose of the reform package presented at the Cabinet meeting today was to put public finance in order and accelerate growth. He said that the reform package was not just Croatia's obligation towards the European Commission but also something that Croatia needed in order to increase its competitiveness and achieve its goals of growth and public finance stability.
Expressing concern about growing debt, Maric said: "We have no alternative but to stabilise it and start reducing it."
Maric said that the government can and must help to facilitate doing business by removing administrative barriers. He said that the public administration should be a service and partner to entrepreneurs and society as a whole. "It is rigid and cumbersome, but I can't say that it is completely inefficient. Finance Ministry staff worked on the convergence plan all night last night. How can I look them in the eye and tell them they are inefficient?"
Maric said that this year's general government deficit was projected at 2.6% of GDP, while at the same time Croatia was paying 3.6% of GDP on interest, which he said was a lot of money. He also noted that Croatia was currently two notches below investment grade and needed to change that.