New Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Oleg Butkovic said on Monday, taking office from Sinisa Hajdas Doncic, that he was against monetising the debt of the motorways and that the debts would be handled through rescheduling and company restructuring.
"I'm absolutely against monetisation. We will restructure the companies and reschedule the existing liabilities, improving the companies and their functioning," Butkovic told reporters. "Firstly, we must see the state of affairs in the sector, not just in road transport but in all other sectors."
Asked how much the Hrvatske Autoceste (HAC) motorway operator must pay in debt this year, Butkovic said "about 400 million euros," reiterating that part would be handled through rescheduling and part through restructuring.
Hajdas Doncic said he was leaving the ministry without unpaid bills and with several major infrastructure projects agreed, such as Zadar Airport, entry into the Ploce seaport, and the Trogir and Peljesac bridges.
He said his successor would have most trouble with HAC and the HZ Cargo and HZ Passenger Transport rail companies. As for HAC's debt, he recalled that the previous government approved at one of its last sessions borrowing EUR 200 million to refinance HAC's liabilities. He said this loan was tied to either the privatisation or initial public offering of HAC ONC road toll company shares.
"Every minister has his idea as to how to service the debt. I leave it up to the new minister to perhaps find a second or third option," Hajdas Doncic said.