Speed is a key factor in competitiveness and with the application of the philosophy of acceleration to priorities such as administration and court proceedings, Croatia could achieve changes in a relatively short period, it was said on Monday at a presentation of the 2020 White Paper "Competitiveness has no Alternative".
The White Paper was released by the Association of Foreign Investors in Croatia (FICC) and it was presented by its author, the executive director and owner of Arhivanalitika, Velimir Sonje, who underlined that they wish to affirm a new notion in social change and that is acceleration.
Observed with the business logic, Sonje explained, acceleration is revenue and slowness is expenditure.
When referring to reforming public administration, Sonje underscored the speed of decision making as key for entrepreneurs, particularly in public procurement procedures.
In addition to the importance of accelerating administrative and court proceedings as well as public procurement procedures, Sonje underlined the need to improve international taxation competitiveness.
He explained that the concept of business speed is important because today the entire world has accelerated, and today in the midst of the pandemic, speed has become a key factor of competitiveness.
In an effort to bring home the idea of speed, Sonje noted the example of a World Bank survey in 2013 where countries were compared according to how much time managers spent dealing with regulations. In Croatia that was 20 percent or one-fifth of their working time.
Sonje said that money that will come from European funds in the next two to three years will be like a “waterfall” and many people will benefit from it, however Croatia’s fate about 2025 or 2026 will depend on how deeply it changes until then.
“Now is the opportunity and if we put emphasis on speed, we can still change,” he said.
Maric: Reforms are highlighted in the White Paper
Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said that the costs related to the coronavirus pandemic have surpassed HRK 32 billion and when the pandemic starts waning, it will be essential to achieve the pre-crisis GDP of 2019. The mistakes of the past must not be repeated, he added.
He recalled that a few weeks ago, at a meeting in the ministry at which the White Paper was presented, he said that it emphasised reforms and how to facilitate and improve conditions for doing business and be as accessible as possible to domestic and foreign investments.
He claimed that the essence of that publication fits into the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NPOO), which the government should adopt and send to the European Commission on 29 April. The NPOO, which also underscores reforms, could be 1,000 pages long, however its implementation is more important, said Marić.
Fogec: Three years for reforms
FICC president Mladen Fogec said that it is not necessary to only criticise Croatia because it has many good things that perhaps are not well known to the wider public.
Nevertheless, he considers that there is a lot of room for improvement, saying that the door to foreign investments in Croatia is only “half open.” The White Paper should contribute to opening the door all the way and to make Croatia more desirable for foreign investments, he said.
Fogec said that foreign investors are still optimistic and told the government and Maric that after the local election in May, there are three years until the next election and that period should be utilised for reforms and to improve the existing system.