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PM Marković at PMQS: We have high economic growth, 11,000 new jobs and we consider various scenarios for minimum wage increase

PM Marković at PMQS: We have high economic growth, 11,000 new jobs and we consider various scenarios for minimum wage increase
Published date: 27.11.2018 21:27 | Author: PR Service

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Responding to the question of MP Ranko Krivokapić why the Government refuses to accept the initiative of the Social Democratic Party to increase the minimum wage, abolish the crisis tax and reduce excise taxes on fuel, Prime Minister Duško Marković said that the relevant international institutions rated the economic policy of the Government of Montenegro as successful, our growth is at the highest level since 2009, and among the highest in Europe, and that such a policy resulted in the creation of 11,000 new jobs in the past two years, and that the Government considers various scenarios of increasing the minimum wage.

I understand that as an opposition MP you criticize everything the Government does. But, contrary to your statements, the economic policy of the Government has been evaluated as successful by relevant international organisations. This is supported by data on strong economic growth of 4.7% in the past and 4.8% in the first half of this year, the highest growth rate in the country since 2009 and one of the highest in Europe. This trend contributed to the creation of new jobs, especially in the construction, manufacturing and tourism sectors, and the number of employees in Montenegro compared to the beginning of the Government's mandate is increased by 11,000 persons. So, in two years we managed to employ 11 thousand people. This means two things - that the economy has advanced and the market has a stronger absorption potential for a new workforce. Secondly, the institutions were doing their job in terms of reducing the grey economy, the Prime Minister said.

Speaking of the initiative to increase the minimum wage, the Prime Minister said that it came precisely from the Government's representative in December 2016

I will remind you that instead of giving promises to increase the minimum wage, the Government must also take into account the reduction of the tax burden on labour. Namely, previous analyses have shown that increasing the minimum wage for existing employees, especially those with the lowest earnings, could mean higher incomes, and in the future a higher pension, as you have pointed out in your question. Nevertheless, what the Government sees as a potential risk is that increasing the minimum wage could lead to an increase in unemployment, since the least productive workers can lose their job or affect their transition to an informal zone if their employer does not pay to register them, PM Marković added.

PM Marković said that the Government, as a responsible one, examined in detail the various scenarios for increasing the minimum wage in combination with a reduction of the tax burden on labour, in order to make the final decision, adding that analyses of the relevant international organisations did not encourage the Government to go in that direction.

I will remind you that the Government's priority is to increase the number of employees and living standard, as well as to eliminate any new risks that can jeopardize it. Therefore, the priority is equal care for all workers. We have no benefits if one gets a salary increase, and other loses job, the Prime Minister noted.

Responding to the question on fuel excises, PM Marković said that this revenue represents one of the most stable sources of state budget revenues and accounts for 67% of total excise revenues, which means that every intervention requires detailed analysis.

When it comes to the personal income tax, the Prime Minister said that the Government's proposal foresees abolition of personal income tax from 11% to 9% by 2020, which would influence the increase of net profit of the citizens, which will contribute to further growth of total wages.

The Government carried out a full consolidation of the energy sector in Montenegro and responded to many open issues that have burdened the sector

Responding to MP Nebojša Medojević's question on the efficiency of regulatory institutions in preserving competition and consumer interests in Montenegro, the Prime Minister commented on his views on the Montenegrin energy sector, stressing that the Government had completed the full consolidation of the energy sector in Montenegro and responded to many open issues which burdened that sector.

There is place in the administration for all civil servants who through their knowledge and work can contribute to the improvement of the functioning of the executive power, regardless of their political commitment or other personal characteristics

Responding to the question of MP Goran Radovanović, PM Marković rejected the claim that there is a speech in Montenegro that encourages divisions and hatred.

"If that happens, I assure you that the institutions of the State of Montenegro are more than capable of responding to this and not just the institutions. I think that the potential of a Montenegrin man or woman as an individual, but also of the society as a whole, is such that he or she can respond to that risk and that danger, and we have shown this in these thirty years, all together ", the Prime Minister stressed.

We are committed to dialogue in order to reduce divisions and to strengthen confidence

Regarding the claim of MP Miodrag Lekić on deterioration of values and divisions in our country, as well as the necessity of the reforms, PM Marković reminded that the most serious deterioration of values of this country in recent history, but also in the whole region, happened in the last decade of the twentieth century.

We have the least contributed to the bloody Balkan decade, but - regardless of the fact that we preserved the country and the people from war devastation, conflict and more victims - it was not possible to avoid facing many consequences, even in the society's value system, the Prime Minister said, assessing that only after the restoration of our independence the conditions have been met to take our fate into our own hands and to stop the spiral of worthless deterioration and turn the wheel in the opposite direction.

You, MP Lekić, were the least helpful in this historic accomplishment. On the contrary! You did your best to challenge and undermine the referendum in May 2006. Fortunately, you have not succeeded, the Prime Minister noted, adding that Montenegro verified its restored and strengthened value system through membership in the NATO.

For full press release in the Montenegrin language please click here.