Government expects FDI hike for 2000
A government document on foreign investment in Slovakia states it will take about 15 to 18 months to see the results of government measures supporting foreign investors. The document backs its assumption of increased FDI by citing the 50 investors that the Agency for Foreign Investment and Development has said are showing serious interest in Slovakia.
The government says the satisfaction of investors that are currently doing business in Slovakia can be seen in that 91% of these companies planned to expand their investments, 7% considered expanding, and only 2% didn't not plan any further investment.
Nominal wages rise by 7.2% in 1999 from 1998
The average Slovak monthly nominal wage in January 2000 was generally up in all economic sectors compared with January 1999. The largest increase was in selected market services, where wages jumped 15.5% (to 12,160 crowns, or $283), and in transport (up 13.2% to 11,438 crowns). In industry, nominal wages increased 9.2% to 11,084 crowns. The Slovak Statistics Bureau reported these data on March 9.
The average nominal monthly wage for 1999 was 10,728 crowns ($250), up 7.2% from the previous year. The speed of growth was 2.4% points slower than in 1998. After considering increases in consumer prices, however, the average real monthly wage fell by 3.1% against 1998 (the last annual decrease in real wages occured in 1993).
After taking the development of consumer prices into account, real wages increased 1.7% in selected market services, while decreasing in industry (3.9%), construction (11%), retail (7.7%), wholesale (11.2%), and transport (0.4%).
GDP up 2.4% in Q499 on strong foreign demand
In the fourth quarter of 1999, Slovakia's gross domestic product (GDP) totalled 200.1 billion crowns, according to preliminary calculations. Compared with the same period the previous year, this represents an increase in fixed prices by 2.4% and 9.9% in current prices. The Slovak Statistics Bureau provided these preliminary results on March 9.
The Q4 GDP hike was influenced by a 8.1% annual increase in foreign demand and a 6.9% decrease in domestic demand. The decrease in domestic demand was linked to the lower creation of gross fixed capital (23.3%). The final consumption of households (down 0.4% on the year) and final state consumption (down 0.6%) decreased as well.
The Statistics Bureau warned that these preliminary data do not take into account the shadow economy (economic activity that is not reported to the Tax Office) and amortization for the households sector.
New Telecom Law expected from parliament in May
The Slovak parliament hopes to adopt a new telecom law in May, by which time a future strategic investor is expected to have been selected for a 51% stake in state telecom monopoly Slovenské Telekomunikácie (ST). This information was reported by Telecom Minister Jozef Macejko on March 15.
The bill liberalizes the telecommunications environment in Slovakia with the exception of the temporary service monopoly for ST (valid until the end of 2002). Restrictions on the telecom market will be completely removed by 2003.
Compiled by Keith Miller from SITA and TASR