Cabinet retreats from taxing monopolies

A PROPOSED HIGHER tax on monopolies and the re-introduction of a tax on dividends - measures that were among the pillars of the economic programme of the ruling Smer party before June 17 elections - now seem unlikely to be introduced.

The country's new finance minister, Ján Počiatek, told the daily SME on July 9 that "personally I think this [tax changes] is not effective."

Počiatek was also careful in his statements on the proposed introduction of a lower value added tax (VAT) bracket on selected goods. He said the maximum extent to which the VAT tax could be dropped was determined by the need to protect the country's "ability to fulfill all binding criteria for adoption of the euro in 2009".

Počiatek has even acknowledged the positive results of the previous government's economic programme. "Smer did not criticise the economic successes of the country but the absence of a social dimension and deepening regional disparities and differences among social classes," he said.

When asked whether he felt like a left-wing economist because he had been nominated to the government by the socialist Smer party, Počiatek said: "I am not a fan of categories, and I would not shelve myself into any scheme. I consider myself a pragmatist."

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