"100,000 public sector workers to be laid off"

BELGRADE -- Aleksandar Vučić has announced that "by the end of this government's mandate" there would be "100,000 fewer employees" in the public sector.

(Tanjug)
(Tanjug)

Those to be laid off are "partisan personnel or, in other words, non-productive workers," the prime minister said addressing MPs during the budget revision debate on Friday.

Speaking about the plans and what is already being done, he said that "tenders are being called, the road to Čačak will be finished in 2016, the eastern end of the Corridor 10 towards Bulgaria is being built."

The Belgrade Waterfront project will also start, Vučić said, adding it would increase GDP "in all of Serbia."

According to him, "the government does not do anything for itself but for the workers and citizens of Serbia, so they are better off." He pointed out that in order to implement reforms a society-wide consensus was necessary.

But - he then noted - reforms will be implemented "even if that consensus is not there."

Vučić reiterated that his government expects EUR 150 million from the public enterprises' profits, adding that he does not know the actual figure and mentioning in this respect "a serious problem in connection with Srbijagas, which is partly justified, but partly unjustified, given that entire cities and regions are not paying their bills."

"There are a number of companies that nobody is interested in buying and will have to go into liquidation. There are companies that have not worked for years for which there are interested parties and we are trying to find the best solution for those," he said, adding that his cabinet was "guided by the principle of fairness and opportunities for people to be able to survive."

He announced that he would meet with the chairman of the board of the U.S. company Esmark in London next week, "and I believe we will shake hands, which will mean the end of troubles for (Železara) Smederevo."

Vučić said earlier that Esmark was "one of the credible potential partners with whom the final status of the steelworks will be defined in the future."