Government consultation with businesses
Today's press conference following the working consultation on the situation and measures to contain the COVID 19 epidemic and preserve the country's economic potential was attended by the Minister of Economic Development and Technology Zdravko Počivalšek and Minister of Health Janez Poklukar..
At today's consultation, the Government and businesspersons looked for solutions to the challenges ahead. Three of the currently most pressing issues were at the top of the agenda: ensuring continuous work processes and good working conditions in the face of a new surge of cases, dealing with rising energy prices and making investments to keep the economy in good shape.
At the press conference, Minister Počivalšek welcomed the affirmation received at the consultation that the Government's response in all COVID‑19 waves was appropriate and the measures taken to borrow funds to invest in companies, jobs and economic growth turned out to be the right decision. This is backed up by numbers, highlighted the minister, as last year's economic growth was between 6.6% and 7.1%, while this year's is estimated at between 4% and 5%. The minister said that businesspersons are calling for continued tax relief to help them stay competitive regarding skilled workers. There were numerous questions about financial aid in case of stricter measures, while staff shortages and the recruitment of foreign workers were also extensively discussed.
The joint conclusion of the consultation was that low value-added companies will be affected most the coming years. Minister Počivalšek announced measures to help these companies stay afloat and highlighted that substantial (EU) funding will be available to the Slovenian economy in the coming years, namely €100 million from the REACT‑EU programme, and €427 million from the recovery and resilience plan and under the package of measures within the Cohesion Envelope for the 2021–2027 period. The minister also noted that the Government had just today adopted a strategy for the digital transformation of the economy for the 2020–2030 period. The goal is to be one of the top three countries in the use of advanced digital technologies, the minister added.
Regarding the epidemic, the Minister of Economic Development and Technology said the Government would do everything in its power to ensure the smooth running of the economy in compliance with the measures proposed by the medical experts. The minister stressed that we will not make it out of this crisis without a high vaccination rate.
Minister Poklukar said that a breakdown of existing measures taken to contain the spread of COVID‑19 infections was made at the consultation session, while the director of the National Institute of Public Health presented the current situation regarding the spread of infections with the Omicron variant. All participants agreed that the existing measures should be implemented consistently. In this regard, Minister Poklukar highlighted that the Government will not be changing the recommendations and measures at present and reiterated that their consistent enforcement is of key importance. Vaccination remains the main COVID‑19 measure available to businesses. With the help of various economic stakeholders, vaccination has been actively pursued through various campaigns. The Minister of Health thanked the businesspersons who fully and widely support vaccination, as this is the only way to prevent an automatic lockdown in light of the rapid spread of infections with the Omicron variant.