Better standard of living "by end of next year"

Finance Minister Lazar Krstić has said that the government’s economic measures "will produce an improved standard of living."

Source: Tanjug
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They will also bring "a change in the way the economy functions," and this will happen "in late 2014 through 2015," he told Tanjug in an interview.

"Certainly there will be no increasing employment in the public sector, but employment will increase in the private sector and where there is an economic demand driven by profit,” Krstić said.

According to recent data, Serbia’s public sector, including public enterprises, numbers about 740,000 employees, he said.

According to the October data, the average gross salary in the public sector, including public enterprises, amounted to RSD 70,000, or 55,000 net, which is 26 percent more than the national average and as much as 50 percent more than official salaries in the private sector.

Krstić said that trade unions' recently deciding to pull out of the negotiations on amendments to the Labor Law was not a good idea, and urged them to get back to the table in order to have the draft for the amended law done by the end of the year.

“The labor bill is important to us, but it is also important to adopt it through social dialogue and a consensus, as wide as possible, between the governments, economy and, above all, workers, whose rights are defined by the law,” said Krstić.

Although not directly in charge of the process, the Ministry of Finance is ready to join the negotiations “as it is essential to modernize the law for the prosperity of the country and the real sector of the economy, both in state and private ownership.”

The budget for next year provides for an RSD 20 billion transition fund for severance payments to workers in enterprises in restructuring and for early retirement, and also for special employment measures and other social programs, he said.

Krstić said that the fund was created based on the prediction that between 15,000 and 20,000 workers will lose their jobs, and financial statements of each individual enterprise in restructuring will be reviewed in order to see whether and how much of the enterprise in question will be able to operate once they are relieved of debt.

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