Serbian Finance Minister Sinisa Mali said that the announced raises in pensions and public sector salaries does not mean more debts for the state.
“There is no mention of added debts. We are not changing the debt plan to the end of the year,” Mali told the pro-government TV Prva commenting President Aleksandar Vucic’s announcement of raises for pensioners, education and health care system employees.
He said that those raises will cost the government 23 billion Dinars. “We planned a deficit of 120 billion Dinars in the first five months and it stood at 35 billion at the end of those five months which means we saved 85 billion,” he said.
The opposition and economy and finance experts have said that the money to raise pensions and public sector salaries means a higher state debt.
A member of the Serbian Fiscal Council and an economic journalist disagreed with the Finance Minister.
Fiscal Council member Nikola Altiparmakov told N1 that the measures announced by the president will lead to a drop in living standards over the next few years because of debt repayments. “We will get further into debt at increasingly high interest rates,” he said.
Journalist Milos Obradovic said that it seems that the measures were decided overnight and the payments in September and October timed for elections. “They were set so far ahead to have a pre-election effect,” he said.