The newly-appointed Finance Minister, Sinisa Mali said today that his priority was to maintain macroeconomic stability, pursue responsible fiscal policy, and work to make Serbia’s public debt below 50 percent of GDP next year.
Mali added that, with due respect to previous ministers, his goal was not only to “guard the treasury” but also to provide funds for all development projects.
Mali also said that a responsible fiscal policy allows for higher civil servant salaries and pensions, and he expected to talk with the IMF about the increase in public sector salaries in the coming months, specifically in June.
He underlined that increasing consumption was one of the aspects that pushes the economy forward.
“As the Minister of Finance, I will take care of every dinar, and the goal is for us to boost Serbia’s budget. The biggest challenge for me is to achieve the economic growth rate that will be higher in the future,” Mali said.
He estimated that the GDP growth of 4.5 percent in the first quarter of this year was “great news for the citizens of Serbia” and pointed out that that was the highest growth rate in Europe.
“I want this growth rate to be higher because it translates into investments in infrastructure, new motorways, new factories…”, said the new Minister of Finance.
He reminded that, as the Mayor of Belgrade, he inherited a huge public debt, in the amount of 1.2 billion dinars, as well as a record high budget deficit of 20 percent.
“For the past four years, we have successfully dealt with these problems. Belgrade’s public finances are completely stabilized, and at the moment, the Republic of Serbia has a different kind of challenge,” says Mali.
He explains that the current state of public finances is primarily a result of “difficult but brave decisions that the government made together with President Vucic in 2014″.
“Our public finances are now stable, and we have been recording a budget surplus in the past three years,” Mali said and reminded that the share of public debt in GDP currently stands 59.9 percent and that a few years ago, it was over 70 percent.
He also says that, as the minister of finance, he has great plans, with the most important one being maintaining macroeconomic stability.
“We will continue with exercising a responsible economic policy, and we will take due care of every taxpayer’s dinar. It is of utmost importance for me that the share of public debt in GDP falls below 50 percent next year”, Mali said.
On the other hand, he expects to talk about an increase in public sector wages with the IMF soon, which is due to come to Serbia in mid-June.
“These are the two things that we need to deal with in the coming period which are also very important for the future of this country. Increasing consumption is one aspect that pushes the economy forward. Together with the Prime Minister, I want to fight for every new job and every new investment and as the finance minister, my duty will be to provide budget money for all this,” Mali added.
Asked about the criticisms coming from the opposition parties, Mali said that he did not mind them because, if he focused on that unfounded criticism, he would not be able to do the job for which he was paid.
“My work and the results of it will be an answer to those critics, just like in the past four years”, Mali pointed out.
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