Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic said in Dubrovnik on Monday that the Public Procurement Law should be amended so that it did not hamper investments and that the lowest bid could not be the most important criterion in public procurement procedures.
After meeting with Dubrovnik-Neretva County Prefect Nikola Dobroslavic and local business people, Oreskovic told reporters that public procurement procedures should not hinder projects. "Changes have to be made to the Public Procurement Law, which is delaying investments. One of them is the Peljesac bridge project," Oreskovic said and added that he believed the lowest bid should not be the most important criterion in public procurement.
"Absolutely, because the lowest price is never a key factor," Oreskovic said and added that in practice the lowest price resulted in less savings in the long run. He underscored that every investor looked for stability and that the government was aiming to lower Value Added Tax (VAT).
"Our objective is to lower VAT but in such a way that it does not have to be changed in six months or a year. Investors have to know what awaits them," Oreskovic said.
Asked about deadlines for the construction of an expressway from Dubrovnik to the city airport, a motorway section to run from Ploce to Dubrovnik and the Peljesac bridge, Oreskovic said that the bridge project would begin in Q3 or Q4 this year.
Asked to comment on the "Panama Papers" case and allegations that some Croatians were involved, Oreskovic said that he would discuss the matter with the finance minister.
The Panama Papers case is a major operation by investigative journalists that has revealed that 140 world leaders, football stars and wealthy people are hiding their money in tax havens.
"Our ministry has services that will check whether money was laundered. If we ascertain that it was, we will communicate that to the public," the prime minister said.
Commenting on his meeting with the prime minister, Dobroslavic said that that he expected the government to have understanding with regard to the Peljesac bridge and the motorway to Dubrovnik.
"Our expectations from the government are the construction of the Peljesac bridge as soon as possible and the continuation of the motorway from Ploce to Dubrovnik. We expect the territorial structure of our county to remain as it is.... We expect a stimulating and stable tax system and a lower VAT rate in tourism so that it is in line with VAT rates in other countries," Dobroslavic said.