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PAS: The SNS with the weakest programme for business

SLOVAKIA's new governing coalition composed of Smer, the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) and the Slovak National Party (SNS) will be the weakest in terms of developing the business environment according to the Slovak Business Alliance (PAS).

"These parties have come out as the worst in our comparisons of political programmes and orientation to the business environment," PAS executive director Robert Kičina told TASR.

The PAS analyzed the political programmes of seven parties, including the six parties that managed to get into the new parliament - Smer, the HZDS, the SNS, the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), the Christian Democrats (KDH) and the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) - plus the Free Forum (SF), which did not make it into parliament.

The SNS emerged as the worst in the assessment, with 2.8 points out of a total of 50. "Among these three (new government) parties, Smer was the best with 10 points, while the HZDS received 7.9 points," said Kičina.

The reason for the parties' poor rating in the study is the fact that they focused only a minimal amount of attention on the business environment and even proposed measures that could harm it, says the PAS. The best result was that of the SDKÚ with 26 points.

The PAS was set up in November 2001. The main goal of the alliance is to improve the formal and informal rules for the business environment in Slovakia, including the running of a permanent conference on business environment improvement.

Investment heaven, entrepreneurial hell

ACCORDING to a study carried out by Ernst & Young among firms that launched new investment projects in 2005, only 70 of the more than 3,000 declared projects came to Slovakia, putting it in 14th place in Europe, according to Hospodárske noviny.

The research showed that Slovakia received 2.3 percent of the total number of investment projects in 2005. This put it behind Poland, which ranked fourth with 180 projects (5.9 percent of the total), the Czech Republic, which ranked seventh with 116 projects (3.8 percent) and Hungary, which ranked eighth with 115 projects (3.8 percent).

The United Kingdom was at the top of the list with 559 projects (18.2 percent).

In terms of new jobs created by the investments, Slovakia was in sixth place with 10,600. Poland was top with 37,745, while the Czech Republic was fourth with 16,438 and Hungary seventh with 9,939.

According to a Hospodárske noviny commentary, however, it is questionable whether Slovakia really is an investment heaven. On one hand, foreign investors are arriving all the time, but at the same time domestic investors complain that they are being ignored.

Among the reasons why foreign investors are coming to Slovakia are the state subsidies, but the daily confrontation with bureaucracy is taking up more time than it would take to actually earn the money.

Foreign currency income from tourism at Sk8.5 billion in 2005

FOREIGN tourism yielded a substantial income for Slovakia in 2005, with incoming visitors spending Sk37.5 billion (€975.6 million) in foreign currency, up by Sk8.5 billion year-on-year.

President of the Slovak Travel Agency Association (SACKA) Robert Kohlmann said on June 30 that the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland have long been key countries in terms of incoming tourists.

The number of Germans and Poles visiting Slovakia in 2005 stopped falling after a successive three-year decline. The number of Czech visitors fell by 4 percent in 2005, however.

Meanwhile domestic tourists spent 3.5 percent fewer nights in Slovak accommodation than the previous year, continuing a long-term downward trend. Kohlmann pointed out that with increasingly higher incomes, more Slovaks now prefer to go abroad on holiday, TASR reported.

Poll: Nine of 10 Slovak internet users do e-banking

OF the existing electronic banking services, 89 percent of internet users in Slovakia actively use internet banking. Almost one in 10 respondents (9.4 percent) actively uses GSM banking and 8 percent of the respondents use e-banking phone services. WAP banking is the least used form of active e-banking among the internet population according to the study Electronic Banking 2006, which was prepared by TNS SK.

E-mail banking is the most commonly used form of passive e-banking with a 22-percent share. This service only provides clients with information regarding the state and movements on their accounts, SITA wrote. E-mail banking is followed by GSM banking with a 13.1-percent share, while internet banking constitutes 7.6 percent and e-banking phone services are passively used by 6.7 percent of respondents.

One in five Slovaks would invest an extra Sk100,000

IF THEY had an extra Sk100,000 more than half of Slovaks would decide to spend it and just one fifth would consider investing it according to a poll conducted by the GfK Slovakia market research agency.

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