SEPTEMBER 13 2012 20:42h
ZAGREB, Sept 13 (Hina) - The Croatian government on Thursday formally introduced a bill to amend the Distraint Act, proposing that the institution of public bailiffs be abandoned.
Addressing the Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said that it was not logical to allow private firms to carry out such repressive measures as distraint and that the introduction of public bailiffs had increased the cost of distraint proceedings.
"The new bill cannot be worse than what was proposed before, to give a very sensitive matter into the hands of private firms," Milanovic said.
The PM recalled that the amendments had been agreed with the European Commission as part of negotiations on the Conflict of Interest Prevention Act. He said that the government had criticised the model that gave a para-state body the powers of police investigators, adding that the fact that nearly 200 candidates had applied for the position of a member of the Conflict of Interest Prevention Commission was proof that something was wrong with the system.
Milanovic said that EU accession was more important to Croatia than that and that "the government, because of the hierarchy of priorities, will pretend that it is good, even though it is not."
The government recommended that Parliament reject the Minimum Wage Bill sponsored by the Labour Party, which called for the gradual increase of the minimum wage from 39% to 50% of the average wage, explaining that the proposed bill did not take into account macroeconomic indicators.
Milanovic accused the Labour Party of populism. "They said that the credit rating was a conspiracy by local bankers. Since they are a Labour Party, they certainly know what is going on in London," he said ironically.
The government sent to Parliament amendments to the Tax Administration Act which provide for increasing supervision of the enterprises that generated a total of 400 billion kuna (54 billion euros) in revenues last year and employed a quarter of the country's labour force.
Last year only five per cent of big companies were subjected to tax inspections, while as many as 95% of inspections focused on small enterprises whose total tax contribution was below 40%, Finance Minister Slavko Linic said.
According to unofficial sources at the Tax Administration, that meant that big companies basically decided for themselves how much tax they would pay, and the present tax authorities suspect that because of such practices the state budget was left without 200-300 million kuna annually.
The government sent to Parliament a negative opinion on the annual report on the performance of the Financial Agency (FINA) for 2011. Linic said that FINA had failed to implement projects such as establishing a register of public administration employees and the Hitro.hr project, the aim of which was to facilitate business start-ups.