Wood processors get funds

THE ECONOMY Ministry has allocated Sk40 million for developing small and medium sized wood processing enterprises in 2002.

The funds are to cover interest payments on commercial loans used by the companies in the acquisition of tangible and intangible assets. The program is set to continue until 2005 and distribute a total of Sk340 million.

Economy Minister Ľubomír Harach said that if the privatisation of monopolies is successfully completed, annual government subsidies could climb to Sk100 million.

According to the plan, government support of the wood processing industry should allow Slovakia's producers to increase yearly exports by up to Sk5 billion. Applicants for subsidies must meet a number of requirements including increasing volume of processed wood, using types of wood where supply exceeds demand, and creating employment. Harach hopes the project will result in 1,300 new jobs

The ministry also plans to support the construction of a pulp and paper mill in conjunction with strategic investors. Possible locations for the mill are the Považie region in west Slovakia, Spišská Nova Ves and Vranov nad Topľou, both in east Slovakia. The products of the mill should go to the Caspian region which is, according to Harach, accessible and still unsaturated.

Harach estimates that total investment will exceed Sk10 billion.

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