The liberal centrist opposition party Pametno warned on Friday that the burden of new borrowing would fall on the shoulders of citizens and businesses, proposing that the government abolish the Financial Agency, stop spending money on subsidised housing, cut taxes and reduce the number of local and regional government units.
"The announcement by Finance Minister Zdravko Maric of new borrowing to pay off the debt to drug wholesalers is also the announcement of continued irresponsible management of public finances and the best indicator of the extravagance of the government of Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic," the party's member of the Split-Dalmatia County Assembly, Igor Skoko, said.
He said that debts must be repaid, but that the burden would again fall on the shoulders of already overburdened citizens and businesses.
He recalled that Croatia's public debt has surpassed HRK 315 billion and that the debt to GDP ration is expected to get close to 90% by the end of the year. In the crisis year 2009 public debt was HRK 160 billion.
"These are alarming and worrying amounts that will now increase further, instead of the government working on reducing them," Skoko said, adding that Croatia must urgently turn to saving and to responsible management of taxpayers' money.
He proposed that the government abolish the Financial Agency because "this relic of socialism does not exist in any developed country."
Instead of "non-transparent and scandalous spending" on subsidised housing, Skoko said that with lower taxes the government can enable cheaper construction and lower property prices.
He said that the government should stop trying to save state-owned "chronic loss-makers", noting that the money spent on bailing out the shipyards alone would have resolved the problem of debt to drug wholesalers.
Skoko also questioned the logic of existence of "a vast number" of counties, towns and municipalities.