orešković, karamarko, petrov.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Damir SENČAR /ds

Reducing Croatia's budget deficit and public debt, improving all indicators for doing business in the country and cutting taxes are some of the main guidelines in the economic programme submitted by Prime Minister-designate Tihomir Oreskovic as the new cabinet sought approval from parliament on Friday.

According to the document on the cabinet's 2016-2019 term, the future government will focus on "further smart fiscal consolidation" with the aim of reducing the budget deficit and public debt.

To this aim, the government would be supported by a Public Debt Management Agency, whose establishment is envisaged in the programme.

One of the goals is to to create a stable tax environment through a tax system based on the principles of fairness and simplicity and scale down corporate taxes, notably through the abolishment of extra taxes.

The business sector should make efforts to enhance the performance in all indicators from the World Bank's "Doing Business" report, and in this context, the new government will be committed to the maximum simplification of regulations for starting up businesses and for doing business and to the simplification of proceedings for tackling insolvency, pre-bankruptcy procedures, bankruptcy and liquidation.

One of the tasks is to redefine tasks and business systems of the supporting institutions such as the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) and the Croatian Chamber of Trades (HOK), including the reduction of membership fees.

In the energy sector, the programme envisages the establishment of a mandatory energy stock exchange, the separation of the energy transmission system from the distribution system, and a temporary moratorium on the construction of thermal power plants and on the exploration and exploitation of oil and gas in the Adriatic.

The regional development and European Union funds sector plans to adopt a strategy of regional development by 2020 and double the amount of the absorbed EU funds.

In the agricultural sector, the new government aims to overhaul the Ministry of Agriculture and draw up a strategy for the development of agriculture and for the forestry and timber sectors.

The tourism sector can expect amendment of the legislative framework with the aim of boosting competitiveness. The document also envisages a cut to the current Value Added Tax on accommodation and catering in tourism from 13% to 5.5%. State-owned tourist companies are to be privatised, and the government will encourage the sale of Croatian-made food products in the national tourism sector.

In the infrastructure and transport sector, the government will focus on connections to European transport corridors and on improving the quality and safety of roads as well as on completing the infrastructure in seaports, airports and in the railway sector.

One of the aims is to develop a broadband Internet infrastructure.

In the construction sector, the government plans to merge and consolidate land registers kept by courts and those kept by land survey offices. It also aims to put in use dormant state-owned property.

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