Finance Minister Siniša Mali said that Serbia is “not over-indebted” and that pensions will be increased as planned, by nine per cent, from 1 November and another 11 per cent from 1 January next year.
Mali told Pink TV that after the formation of the new government, he expects the budget to be reviewed in order to achieve the planned increase in pensions, which “will amount to a total of 20.2 per cent from January”. He added that inflation this year will amount to 11.5 per cent and that the projection for next year is 8.7 per cent, so the pension increase is realistic because it is higher than inflation.
Mali also announced that as of 1 January, the minimum wage will be increased by 14% and will amount to over 40,000 dinars, and that public sector salaries will also increase by 12.5%. He added that Serbia has no problems with public debt, and added that the share of debt in the gross domestic product (GDP) today is only 0.5% higher than in 2012.
According to him, Serbia’s public debt amounts to EUR 31.5 billion, which is about 53 per cent of GDP. Mali said that in June of this year, France’s debt was EUR 2.901 billion, Italy’s EUR 2.755 billion, Germany’s EUR 2.482 billion, and Serbia’s EUR 31.5 billion, so when it comes to the absolute amount of public debt, Serbia “is not even close to these developed countries”.
“Public debt is still compared in relation to the GDP of the country’s economy. At the moment, the estimate for 2022 is that Serbia’s GDP will be EUR 60.2 billion, so with a debt of 31.5 billion euros we get that the share of public debt is about 53 per cent, which is below the Maastricht level of 60 per cent, which is the EU standard,” Mali said.
He also pointed out that this percentage is 193 in Greece, 118 in Spain, 103 in Montenegro, and that the average in the European Union is 88 per cent. Speaking about the stability of Serbia’s finances, Mali pointed out that the unemployment rate in Serbia is 8.9 per cent, which is an all-time low, and in addition, the economy’s growth rate in the first quarter was 4.3 per cent and in the second quarter 3.9 per cent, while other countries in Europe, as he says, “are already entering recession and have negative growth rates”.
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