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.

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.