While the Slovak government has been criticized by investors both actual and potential for its lack of competitive tax incentives, one Japanese-Slovak joint venture announced an increase in its commitment to production in the country on July 15.
Yazaki-Debnár, a Japanese-Slovak joint venture in Prievidza that produces electric wire harnesses, initially invested 55 million Sk ($1.9 million) in 1994. By the end of 1998, that investment may reach 500 million Sk ($16.7 million) with expanded operations, the company announced. With expansion, the plant's payroll will grow from 450 employees to 2,000 by the end of 1997.
"We are not working for incentives," said Matsuzo Daigo, Yazaki-Debnár's chairman, "but of course they help." But Daigo said his company was increasing its investment despite "no such incentives from the government." Curiously, the government offers no impressive sales pitch attempting to overshadow the lack of tax breaks. "We're trying to attract investors by being serious and stable," said Jozef Šucha, spokesman for the Ministry of the Economy.
Šucha cited a few successful foreign investments - Volkswagen, Whirlpool, and Siemens - and said, "I think [these success stories] are the best advertisement that business can work here."
Sony's Ivan Hughes said some people at the Ministry and the Slovak National Agency for Foreign Investment and Development (SNAFID) were helpful, but that potential investors "shouldn't have to pay for help. In the U.K., they will wine and dine you. [Slovaks] have got a lot to learn." The learning should be done quickly if, as Tomatsa Suzuki from Sony said, "they are watching carefully" from Tokyo.
17. Jul 1996 at 0:00 | Rick Zedník