Croatia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister was in parliament today where he presented to MPs a mid-year report on the execution of the state budget.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Zdravko Marić pointed out that due to the coronavirus lockdown the budget deficit had ballooned to almost 18 billion Kuna, or 4.9% of GDP, as the lockdown simultaneously slashed budgetary revenues and resulted in a spike in expenditures.
“We all know too well that in the first six months of the year GDP dropped by 7.8 percent, however, in the second quarter alone that drop was 15 percent, which as we all know, is the biggest quarterly drop ever recorded,” Minister Marić said.
The finance minister and MPs from the parliamentary majority argued that the downturn was further exacerbated by the need for government to shift funds towards programs aimed at saving the economy and preserving jobs. However, MOST MP Miro Bulj feels that not all of the blame can be directed towards the corona-crisis: “We can't blame it all on the corona-crisis. Corona simply shone a light on bad policy.”
Vesna Vučemilović from the Homeland Movement questioned how much financial damage was being inflicted on the country by the National Civil Protection Directorate and its COVID-19 guidelines: “When you shut people in their homes, restrict the freedom of movement, a drop in spending should be expected.”