Premier: I'm against Increasing VAT, We Must Find Other Ways to Consolidate

Premier: I'm against Increasing VAT, We Must Find Other Ways to Consolidate
Prime Minister Robert Fico at a briefing following a working meeting at the Labour Ministry on April 5, 2024 (photo by TASR)

        Bratislava, March 5 (TASR) - The government must find other ways to consolidate public finances than increasing value-added tax (VAT), Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) told a press conference on Friday following his meeting with Labour, Social Affairs and the Family Minister Erik Tomas (Voice-SD).
        The opposition Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party claimed this week that the Finance Ministry is planning to increase VAT by 2-3 percentage points.
        "I'm saying it very clearly, I'm opposed to increasing VAT, and we must find, if we are to consolidate, other ways of approaching the consolidation of public finances," said the premier, pointing out that VAT, which is paid to the state by sellers of goods and services, was last increased by Iveta Radicova's government in 2011, to 20 percent. The measure should have been temporary - until the state-budget deficit fell below 3 percent of gross domestic product. However, successive governments kept VAT at this level, although the deficit fell below the planned level as early as in 2013.
        The prime minister reiterated that last year the government took over from its predecessors the worst public finances in the European Union. "We know what we have to do, but it won't come at the expense of the achieved social standard. I think we have many opportunities to confront these issues head on. We know that public finances need to be restored," emphasised the premier.