PM: Salaries, pensions, subsidies to be cut

BELGRADE -- There will be no decrease of salaries in the public sector and pensions up to RSD 25,000 (EUR 211 as of Sept. 19), PM Aleksandar Vučić has announced.

(Tanjug)
(Tanjug)

Monthly salaries and pension higher than RSD 25,000 "will most likely be subject to a linear reduction of 10 - 10.5 percent," he told the public broadcaster RTS late on Thursday.

"This means that most pensioners - 60.2 percent of them - will not see their pensions cut", Vučić said, announcing new budgetary austerity measures.

"I know how hard life is for people. We tried to protect the poorest," the prime minister said.

"We wanted to cut costs, but so that the people can live, achieve progress and save their jobs," Vučić said.

"But if the measures are successful - and I do believe in the plan and in a healthy Serbia - we will be a normal country in 2016, with a healthy economy."

Vučić also announced that the government will reduce subsidies for public companies Srbijagas and Železnice Srbije (Serbian Railways) and that agricultural subsidies will no longer be paid "to tycoons but only to small farmers."

"Srbijagas will no longer be allowed to give gas to (public companies) Azotara, Petrohemija and Železara for free. As of January 1, no such thing will be possible,” Vučić told the RTS.

"The government will stop funding agricultural tycoons, and only grant subsidies to small farmers," he said.

Vučić explained that one hectare of state-owned land is being leased for approximately EUR 128, which is the average cost of farm lease in Serbia, “but we subsidized it with EUR 110 per hectare”.

"As a result, the state earned EUR 18 per hectare. From now on, we will demand that the beneficiaries of the subsidies hire one employee per every ten hectares of land,” said Vučić.