Fico: Slovakia’s Economy to Grow by 3.6 percent in 2016

Prime Minister Robert Fico (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, September 19 (TASR) – Slovakia’s economy will grow by 3.6 percent year-on-year in 2016, said Prime Minister Robert Fico at a press conference in Bratislava on Monday.

Fico stated that Slovakia is doing very well and is among the countries with the fastest growing economies in the EU. Slovakia’s economic growth is being facilitated mainly thanks to household consumption.

Developments in 2016 are absolutely in line with predictions and promises provided by the former Smer-SD government (2012-16) at the beginning of this year, stated Fico. “It’s with great pleasure that I announce that economic growth should hover around 3.6 percent in 2016, which would place us among the fastest growing EU economies. It can be assumed that the same pace will be reached in 2017 as well. For that period we also have to take the fallout from Brexit into account. There are estimates that it will slow economic growth by approximately 0.2 percent,” noted Fico.

Fico praised the fact that the main driving force behind economic growth is household consumption. Car manufacturing should also break some records, pulling exports above the 5-percent growth threshold. The Finance Ministry’s prognosis estimates that the announced investments in the automobile industry sector, including by Jaguar Land Rover and the Bratislava bypass, will be reflected in the final quarter of 2016.

The premier noted a promise made by his former government (2012-16) to create 100,000 new jobs in the next four years. “In this year alone 48,000 new jobs will be created. Growth should be recorded in all sectors, and we can already state that Slovakia’s employment rate will be the highest ever. Half of this plan will be fulfilled in less than ten months of 2016,” emphasised Fico.

Fico pointed out that the Cabinet still isn’t satisfied with growth in salaries compared to increases in productivity. He stated that the average nominal salary should reach €908 per month given that productivity growth reaches 2.8 percent y-o-y. [The average salary was €867 per month in the first quarter of this year. – ed. note]

“Slovakia is doing well. Slovakia is a country that has things to offer – economically, financially and internationally. If we add an elementary rate of political stability to this, I’m convinced that Slovakia has everything it takes to come close to the average quality of life in the EU,” claimed Fico.

Finance Minister Peter Kazimir (Smer-SD) explained that the economy should increase by 3.5 percent y-o-y in 2017, with Brexit fallout of 0.2 percent of GDP already taken into account. “We perceive this value as a positive risk. It’s possible that political bickering and the prolongation of negotiations [on Brexit] will extend the negative impact,” explained Kazimir.

Economic growth should reach 3.9 percent y-o-y in 2018 and 4.4 percent in 2019.