Fico: We’ll Change Criteria for Rental Flats and Increase EKS Threshold

Prime Minister Robert Fico (left) and ZMOS head Michal Sykora during working lunch in Bratislava (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, January 11 (TASR) – The Government wants to change the parameters concerning the construction of rental flats and to adjust the thresholds that oblige towns and villages to make purchases via the electronic marketplace, concurred Prime Minister Robert Fico and representatives of the Slovak Towns and Villages Association (ZMOS) at a working lunch on Wednesday.

Fico noted that regarding rental flats, the state provides towns and villages with non-refundable assistance of 30 percent, while the remaining 70 percent is provided by the State Housing Development Fund. “We agreed that in order to support greater labour mobility, we’ll change the criteria. In places where we feel that rental flats should be built more quickly and to a greater extent the state will provide bigger support,” said the premier.

Moreover, Fico wants to make it easier for towns and villages in the area of public procurement procedures. In 2015, parliament greenlighted an amendment to a law according to which municipalities have to make purchases via the Electronic Contractual System (EKS) only in the case of contracts exceeding €5,000. Until then, the threshold was set at €1,000. According to Fico, this threshold will go up even further in the future. “We’ll go even further, bearing in mind that it’s necessary to define conditions that will meet the needs of towns and villages,” he said.

The only issue that has remained unresolved is salary hikes for teachers in nursery schools, primary art schools, leisure centres and school clubs. These institutions come under the administration of towns and villages, and they are run on resources from local taxes.

Education, Science, Research and Sport Minister Peter Plavcan (a Slovak National Party/SNS nominee) said last year that that these teachers won’t be deprived of salary hikes. “It can be guaranteed that even this category of teachers will see salary increases of 6 percent as of September 2017,” he said.

ZMOS head Michal Sykora said at the working lunch that the ZMOS Council is set to meet in February and that Plavcan has been invited to the session.

“The things signed in the collective bargaining agreement are valid. Other things can only hardly be accomplished during the year because towns and villages approved their budgets at the end of last year. We can find agreement, but Plavcan will have to find the money and transfer it to the municipalities,” said Sykora.