Presentation of the 2022 Economic Survey of Slovenia
The presentation of the 2022 Economic Survey of Slovenia, prepared by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), took place on Monday at Brdo pri Kranju. The Economic Survey provides a comprehensive picture of the macroeconomic situation in Slovenia, with special attention paid to the topical issue of the digitalisation of society and the economy.
Alvaro Santos Pereira, Director of the Country Studies Branch at the Economics Department of the OECD, presented the findings and recommendations of the economic survey prepared by every year and a half for each member country. The OECD's key recommendations for Slovenia relate to fiscal policy, structural reforms and digital transformation.
Klemen Boštjančič, Finance Minister, considered it important, in the light of the challenges we are facing and which are also addressed by the OECD Economic Survey, to take measures aimed at growth in gross domestic product and productivity. Examples of this include investments in research, infrastructure, improving the business and innovation environment, and the green and digital transitions. Targeted and development-oriented measures are important to him.
Moreover, Minister Boštjančič claimed that structural changes related to the health and social systems, as well as demography, are essential. The recommendations of international organisations are a very useful tool when designing measures. Mr Boštjančič said that he sees the OECD as an important partner in addressing current and future challenges, and will therefore seek even more intensive cooperation with the organisation.
Dr Emilija Stojmenova Duh, Minister of Digital Transformation, stressed that reducing the digital divide caused by unequal access to the internet, technologies, tools and skills is one of the most important priorities of this term in times of accelerated digitalisation of society and the economy.
She added that in spite of the relatively good broadband coverage in Slovenia we cannot be satisfied, as there are still too many households without adequate access to the internet. Another challenge relates to a digital skill shortage among different population groups, a shortage of ICT professionals in the private and public sector, and the relatively low use of digital public services, which developed at a faster pace in recent years. She noted that during the current term they would also work actively to improve digital skills among civil servants, in particular by promoting training for teachers, in order to contribute to easing the development of the digital transformation in the country.
The ministry will intensify its efforts to address all these challenges, always keeping first and foremost in mind the human being, the individual, and the need for economic security, social inclusion and a healthy environment, added the Minister.
Effective horizontal coordination of all activities is also essential for the successful digital transformation of the whole country. This is the main purpose of setting up a dedicated ministry for digital transformation. Dr Emilija Stojmenova Duh added that she believes that this will help us to fully exploit the potential that Slovenia certainly has in the field of digitalisation.
Luka Mesec, Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities focused mainly on the level of pensions, the sustainability of the pension system and the need to establish a long-term care system.
With a view to ensuring the adequacy of pensions as one of the key objectives of the OECD recommendations, he highlighted the efforts to ensure a minimum pension at a level of 10% above the poverty line, or at least EUR 700. In this context, he stressed the importance of paying contributions as the cornerstone of pension and disability insurance entitlements. He said that the accelerated expansion of precarious labour had also resulted in a depletion of public pension funds, and that it was therefore essential for the long-term financial sustainability of the pension system that precarious forms of labour be abolished.
Slovenia is lagging significantly behind the OECD average in terms of the inclusion of people in long-term care services and the related allocated public financial resources. Minister Mesec stressed that in this area priority will be given to developing the public provision of long-term care and strengthening the network of public homes for the elderly, as well as other forms of community living, which will provide quality care for all those who need it.