The editor-in-chief of the NIN weekly, Milan Ćulibrk, believes that the optimism of the Serbian government about the economic situation in the country is senseless, and is worried about what will happen in the autumn when government aid to the private sector, which he considers the most affected by the crisis due to the coronavirus, will come to an end.
“We keep hearing that Serbia “is the leader in Europe” and one of the few countries in the world that will not suffer an economic recession. What surely worries me is that our government has a similar approach to the biggest economic crisis, according to many economists in the world, since 1929. While the whole world is rather worried about the future, here we are constantly hearing how things are better than a year ago,” Ćulibrk said on the N1 TV.
Ćulibrk adds that he is “terribly worried because those who should take care of the economy sometimes try harder to convince the citizens that we are better off than before, instead of concentrating their efforts on solving the problem”.
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The government sometimes first publicly says that the state treasury is not a bottomless pit, then announces the imminent construction of a national football stadium, worth 250 million euro, saying that money is not a problem.
“How can money not be a problem, if at the end of June we had a deficit of 3.2 billion euro in the state treasury, and by the end of the year, the deficit is expected to amount to 3.8 billion euro? From the beginning of the pandemic until the end of June, the state borrowed 27.7 million euro a day,” said Ćulibrk.
The only way for the state to borrow more is with interest, which will be ultimately paid by the citizens.
He added that Serbia, in order to maintain the balance of the government budget since May, the government must not spend more than 25 million euro per month, which is a “drop in the ocean”, Ćulibrk warns and adds that there is a great possibility that the public debt will exceed 60% of GDP by the end of the year.
In such a situation, it is not clear why “620 million euro of state money was wasted before the elections, paying 100 euro to each adult Serbian citizen whether they need it or not”, Ćulibrk wonders and says that that money could have been spent on helping the most vulnerable sectors of the economy.
This post is also available in: Italiano