Arab Today, arab today debtladen serbia braces for painful reforms
Last Updated : GMT 12:50:22
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Debt-laden Serbia braces for painful reforms

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Debt-laden Serbia braces for painful reforms

Ivanko Jankovic
Belgrade - AFP

 With one in five people unemployed and pensioners outnumbering those in work, Serbia is struggling with a record budget deficit and could sink into bankruptcy.
Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has pledged reforms, including cuts in the bloated public sector, but analysts warn concrete measures have yet to be taken and financial markets could punish Serbia for its failure to act.
The Balkan state is expected to post a record budget deficit of 8.0 percent this year, with growth forecast to reach 1.0 percent. But output could yet worsen by another 0.2 percentage points owing to devastating floods that struck in May.
Vucic, who was elected earlier this year on a promise to overhaul Serbia's ailing economy, said his cabinet was now ready to push through painful reforms that include increased taxes, as well as fresh cuts in the public sector and to generous subsidies.
"We have to do it and if we fail to do so in next six or seven months, we never will," warned Vucic, in power since April after a landslide victory by his conservative Serbian Progressive Party.
The cost of spending has become unbearable, Vucic said, warning that the EU candidate country could end up "in the position of Greece" and needing international aid if bold action is not taken.
"We have more pensioners than those employed, and of those, more than 50 percent work in the public sector. Who can put up with that?" he said.
Serbia's national budget, equal to about 8.0 billion euros ($10.87 billion), is struggling to cope, as it has to meet payments to 1.7 million pensioners and more than 700,000 public sector workers in a country of 7.2 million people.
More than 20 percent of the workforce is unemployed, and many of those with jobs barely survive on an average monthly salary equivalent to 350 euros ($475).
The budget is also burdened by up to 600 million euros ($815 million) per year in subsidies to 161 state-owned companies that should have been shut down a decade ago, Economy Minister Dusan Vujovic said.
There are another 400 state-owned companies that should be privatised by the end of 2016, Vujovic added, saying that the government will seek international investors to revive these firms.
Serbia -- the largest country to emerge from the 1990s break-up of Yugoslavia -- has to reform antiquated labour, privatisation and bankruptcy laws, he said.
Parliament is expected to adopt the reforms by the end of July.
- 'No excuses left' -
Despite the government's pledges, analysts say it is moving neither quickly nor resolutely to deal with the crisis.
Milojko Arsic, an economics lecturer at the University of Belgrade, said Serbia's deficit "would be the highest in Europe" this year.
At the same time, "the government's readiness to introduce sharp fiscal consolidation and implement overall structural reforms seems less certain now than when it was formed," he said.
A budget revision announced for June has been delayed until later in the year, and public-sector wage cuts have been pushed back to October.
Timothy Ash, chief emerging markets analyst at Standard Bank, said that "expectations are very high now for this administration".
"They have promised much, they have a mandate for reform, and people expect them to deliver -- no excuses left," Ash told AFP.
"If they do not act, markets will penalise them, as debt ratios are approaching levels which raise concern over sustainability," he said.
Nikola Altiparmakov, of the government's Fiscal Council, forecast that the public debt would hit 70 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by the end of 2014.
"If the government fails to implement reforms in the next six months... we are facing a serious threat from the public debt," Altiparmakov said.
"It is false dilemma whether we should cut wages or pensions or make savings in public companies. We have no choice, we have to do all three or we will collapse," Altiparmakov added.
Vucic insisted that there was no alternative to the package of highly unpopular reforms.
"This is a fight for our survival, we have to do it and we are going to do it," he said.

 

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today debtladen serbia braces for painful reforms Arab Today, arab today debtladen serbia braces for painful reforms

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Nohan Seyam designs beautiful accessories

GMT 20:02 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

Nohan Seyam designs beautiful accessories
Arab Today, arab today Tourism shows signs of recovery

GMT 09:59 2017 Monday ,20 February

Tourism shows signs of recovery
Arab Today, arab today Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"

GMT 19:45 2017 Monday ,20 February

Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"
Arab Today, arab today Top Yemen commander killed

GMT 09:55 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

Top Yemen commander killed
Arab Today, arab today To probe sexual harassment claims

GMT 10:08 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

To probe sexual harassment claims

GMT 05:34 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

Euro zone economy outlook shines

GMT 04:10 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

US stocks finish at another all-time high

GMT 02:31 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

Arms deals worth over AED6.9 bn sealed on day two of IDEX

GMT 02:21 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

Putin urges Russian nuclear weapons boost

GMT 21:14 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

Tatas will lead, not follow

GMT 20:39 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

China allocates $117 billion to expand railway network
View News in Arabic - Business: اقتصاد دولي
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today To hold social dialogue over secondary school

GMT 07:43 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

To hold social dialogue over secondary school
Arab Today, arab today 63-Year-Old Woman Delivers Baby

GMT 12:35 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

63-Year-Old Woman Delivers Baby
Arab Today, arab today Milan laughs while Rome cries

GMT 10:28 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

Milan laughs while Rome cries
Arab Today, arab today Pluto's unruly moons

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons
Arab Today, arab today Nissan enhances sales in most markets

GMT 14:08 2017 Monday ,20 February

Nissan enhances sales in most markets
Arab Today, arab today Competes Sweden and Germans by S90

GMT 22:36 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Competes Sweden and Germans by S90
Arab Today, arab today Janat pleased for issuing 'Good Morning'

GMT 06:41 2017 Monday ,20 February

Janat pleased for issuing 'Good Morning'
Arab Today, arab today Small ponds have outsized impact

GMT 15:53 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

Small ponds have outsized impact

GMT 06:34 2017 Sunday ,19 February

Ahmed Fahmy stresses he did not ignore singing

GMT 06:50 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Tragic fluctuations of Bakhtiari's life revealed

GMT 12:22 2017 Monday ,20 February

Kanye West puts hijab-wearing model

GMT 14:06 2017 Friday ,17 February

London to tax old cars

GMT 23:29 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Home built on sand castles-style costs $8m

GMT 05:15 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

Omega 3 can reduce asthma cases

GMT 19:16 2017 Friday ,17 February

Aziz House ready to host the tourists

GMT 13:12 2015 Saturday ,09 May

Sheikh Sultan opens Sharjah Centre

GMT 12:39 2017 Monday ,20 February

newest smartphone another winner for Huawei

GMT 16:08 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Shawsh reveals her collection "Jewelry of dreams"
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday