Serbia’s Deputy PM Aleksandar Vucic: We Must Fight Scourge of Socialist Corruption
By Lianna Brinded | October 3, 2013 7:13 PM EST
Serbia's first deputy prime minister wants to eradicate bloated state-owned companies, put an end to bumper public salaries and bonuses, and curb international bailouts in a bid to boost the economy through the private sector.
As part of IBTimes UK's special Serbia in Focus series in Belgrade, Aleksandar Vucic delivered a scathing attack on the previous socialist government's well-documented corruption, which led the economy to the brink of collapse.
"We are experts in corruption and we're experts in extortion but this is now times gone past," said Vucic.
"We are putting an end to public-owned companies acting as if they are a state within a state and awarding themselves salaries and bonuses while still being subsidised by the government."
Vucic said that, years ago, parents would encourage their children to get a job in a public company, because civil service jobs paid 13% higher salaries and bonuses than the private sector.
"How is this possible? We are changing this. We have 25% unemployment and we have problems with our budget deficit. But how do you think we are going to cut this by 2% when we are wasting money elsewhere? Why, because we're hypocrites," said Vucic.
"Experts have said we have to reform our economic policies for over 10 years, but when we try to do it we get stabbed in the back.
"I say, OK, go ahead. Go into the street and tell private companies that they have to pay 30% corporation tax and destroy the economy even more."
"I am Not Going to Butter Your Bread"
Serbia has one of the most attractive tax systems in Europe, as workers only pay 10% tax on their salary while corporate profit tax stands at 15%, and value-added-tax at 20%.
However, around a quarter of the population remains unemployed and GDP growth has remained negative since the credit crisis.
Prior to 2008, Serbia recorded an average of 4% growth annually.
"We need to cut our budget by €800m but we face a number of challenges," said Vucic.
"We get criticised for making cuts but where would the critics suggest in taking it? If we increase VAT to 25%, we'll destroy our economy even further.
"People can sit in the coffee shops and tweet about how much they disagree with us, but they have too much time on their hands.
"I am not going to butter your bread. I am not interested in socialist self-management. We need to encourage the private sector and the future of the country lies in capitalism."
IMF Monopoly Money
Serbia's unemployment rate has nearly doubled since the year before the credit crisis, and the average net wage is €380 per month.
The government is stuck between trying to appease the voters and trying to reduce spending, create jobs and provide sustainable growth for the economy.
Vucic said that the government's plans to woo major foreign investors would not only be able to provide this future growth but would also help Serbia avoid massive international bailouts.
"We bought bonds many years ago but this is coming home to roost. We have got to pay creditors back," said Vucic.
"However, I am not supporting the idea of taking more loans when the interest alone is €1bn. Who is going to earn that money? I am not taking the International Monetary Fund's Monopoly money that doesn't exist anyway.
To report problems or to leave feedback about this article, e-mail:
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- NFL MNF: Pittsburgh Steelers 30, Houston Texans 23 [PHOTOS]
- 2014 MLB World Series Game 1: San Francisco Giants 7, Kansas City Royals 1 [PHOTOS]
- 2014 MLB World Series - Game 2: Kansas City Royals 7, San Francisco Giants 2 [PHOTOS]
- NFL Thursday Recap - Denver Broncos 35, San Diego Chargers 21: Peyton Manning Has 3 TDs In Easy Win [PHOTOS]
Join the Conversation
- Economic Growth In US And Sub-Saharan Africa Allay 2015 Recession Fears
- Travel Alert: Over 200 Canadians Infected with Mosquito-Borne Chikungunya Virus
- Canadian Ebola Drug: Tekmira Firm Starts Limited Manufacturing of Vaccine, Available By December; Shares Up
- US Dedicates 5 Airports for Travellers From Ebola-Stricken Nations, Lawmakers Want Travel Ban
- WHO Races to Release Ebola Serum in 2 Weeks, Vaccines in January
- Xiaomi Redmi 1S vs. Sharp Aquos Crystal – Specifications, Features And Price Showdown
- ASUS Releases A Teaser Indicating The Arrival of New Zenfone and ZenWatch On October 28
- Boy Stoned To Death For Alleged Rape, Victim Receives Dowry From Militants
- Three Dual SIM Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Duos Variants Comes To China
- Russia is Creating Underwater Combat Robots to Protect its Arctic Territories
- ‘Lone Wolf’ Attack on Canada Parliament Hill Could be ISIS-Related
- Android Lollipop 5.0 Confirmed for Nov 3 Rollout as Nexus 6 Global Release Date is Delayed – Reports