Fico: New Law on Regional Investment Aid Pursues Three Goals

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Prime Minister Robert Fico (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, February 8 (TASR) – The new law on regional investment assistance has three objectives: eliminating regional disparities, turning Slovakia’s economy into a modern one and further hikes in salaries, stated Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) at a press conference in Bratislava on Thursday, with Economy Minister Peter Ziga (Smer-SD) and the Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO) general director Robert Simoncic in attendance.

The premier was responding to the law on regional investment aid that was greenlighted by Parliament on Tuesday (February 6).

“We’re rewriting historical figures in terms of unemployment and employment. To be objective we have to say that such a development doesn’t concern the whole of Slovakia. There are areas in Slovakia that are doing very well, and there are areas where people are leaving in order to find work. We’re witnessing the depopulation of villages, we’re witnessing incomplete families, but the new legislation we’re now introducing should respond to these trends,” said Fico, adding that the new law should help to support investments in areas where they are needed.

According to the premier, in terms of regional perspectives two thirds of new investment projects are oriented towards central and eastern Slovakia. “Western Slovakia has been in a situation in which it’s a huge problem to find labour, and employers have been pushing us to import people from abroad. So, I welcome the trend according to which there are more projects in central and eastern Slovakia,” said Fico.

In line with the newly adopted law sponsored by the Economy Ministry, creating new jobs will no longer be a condition for receiving investment stimuli in Slovakia.

“The major changes include abandoning the requirement for jobs to be created in industrial production. In the area of technology centres and business service centres the condition that a certain proportion of university-educated people should be employed has been replaced by the condition that higher than average salaries should be paid in the given district. One significant change involves modifying the condition that an investment plan should be carried out in a single location,” reads a report on the new law.

The legislative change responds to current market conditions in Slovakia as well as to changes on the investment market. In addition, it introduces a more stringent assessment of investment plans, clearer rules for receiving investment aid as well as an accurate definition of steps to be taken by state bodies if the conditions for investment aid are violated.

The new law will come into force as of April 2018.