Government warned to avoid populism

THE ASSOCIATION of Slovak Tax Payers (ZDPS) has appealed to the government to avoid populist pre-election measures that would lead to public spending increases, such as state payments of family allowances or excessive increases in pensions.

"Taking the current economic situation into account, such behaviour would be very irresponsible and could have long-term consequences," said the ZDPS in its appeal.

International groups such as the IMF and OECD are also warning that the public finance deficit could climb to 7 per cent of GDP this year compared to the government's 3.5 per cent target, and that strict budget policy should be the highest priority.

The appeal was signed by a number of reputed Slovak economists, including Ján Oravec from the Economy Ministry, Eugen Jurzyca from the Ineko think tank, Martin Barto from Slovenská sporite3oa bank, and Ján Tóth from ING Bank.

The economists are saying that the future government will have to cope with the state of economy that they inherit.

"The worse it becomes, the more merciless the future measures will have to be," said Ivan Švejna, a signatory from the F. A. Hajek Foundation, a Bratislava-based economic think tank.

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