Aleksandar Vučić outlines government programme
During the voting in of a new Cabinet and government yesterday, newly elected Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vučić, said that his government’s programme would focus on three areas; reforming the economy, strengthening the private sector and budget consolidation through spending cuts.
In his speech to parliament outlining the government programme the Prime Minister said, “During the first week of May, the reform package will be in parliament for discussion, I asked the President of the Assembly to allow from the 15th of July, for about 65 days and nights, the first package of reform laws to be passed.”
The Prime Minister went on to say that there would be a comprehensive package of reform laws aimed at destroying corruption and reforming the way business is done in Serbia. He said that the private sector will be strengthened by giving incentives to small and medium-sized enterprises, in order to employ more people, and reducing the number of people in the public sector.
Mr Vučić said that the third task will be to consolidate the budget by reducing costs and increasing revenue, in order to have more money for jobs, raise living standards, education, health and infrastructure. He announced that there would be a 10% cut in public sector wages and the solidarity tax would be abolished.
Other announcements included the sale of Telecom Serbia next year, Serbian Electric Power (EPS) to get a minority partner but not sold off. Srbijagas which has substantial debts will be restructured and some parts will be sold off.
The Prime Minister announced that Serbian Railways was costing the government large amounts of money and the company would be prepared for privatisation. The Prime Minister said that the government will also issue a 4G spectrum licence, allow a foreign lottery operator and amend the law to sell copper miner RTB Bor.
On infrastructure the Prime Minister said that these would be implemented in concessions (not loans) and that within four years the Belgrade – Montenegro highway of 270 kilometres would be constructed.
On other matters Mr Vučić said that there would be no pension cuts, although the retirement age for women will be raised to 63 from 60, and that in healthcare there would be the establishment of emergency services and services for primary and health care. There will also be a separate private-public fund for children whose treatment is not covered by the Republic Health Insurance Fund for emergency cases. The Prime Minister also announced that the government would re-consider the practice of sending local doctors abroad for specialisation and instead will bring experts from abroad to “educate our doctors and treat patients.”
The Prime Minister announced that there would be an “aggressive” introduction of e-government, strengthening of the judiciary, especially giving them powers to tackle corruption. He said that he hoped negotiations with the European Union would be completed by 2018 but that there would be no change of policy towards Kosovo. There would be an increase in agricultural production by 30% whilst preserving small farms.
See full list of new Cabinet here.