Economy Minister Darko Horvat said ahead of Thursday's regular government cabinet session, that workers at the troubled Treći Maj shipyard could get their first overdue salaries as early as next week.
Speaking to the press, Minister Horvat said the payment of overdue salaries would be preceded by an agreement between Treći Maj and the Croatian Shipbuilding Corporation - Jadranbrod - which was expected to be signed early next week.
The news comes only days after Rijeka's troubled shipyard signed agreements with suppliers and subcontractors for the payment of 15% of their claims and a two-year deferral on the remaining 85%, after the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development green-lighted the approval of a 150 million kuna loan.
For the process to be launched, Jadranbrod, which will monitor the money transfer, needs to first sign an agreement with Treći Maj, said Horvat. He added that settling the 15% of their debts with suppliers was a prerequisite for unfreezing the shipyard's accounts, putting them back into operation and the arduous task of finding a strategic partner.
Asked if taxpayers would again foot the bill for Croatia's troubled shipbuilding industry, Horvat said they would not: "All of this money provided for the completion of the boats in Rijeka will be returned to the state budget within two years. Meanwhile, the four to five million euros in projected revenue will stay with the shipyard."
The minister also confirmed that the shipyard's management board signed a 36.6-million-dollar contract late on Wednesday night to build a ship for a Canadian client.
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