THE SECRETARY General of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Angelo Gurria, visited Bratislava on February 9 and said that this year would be “negative, problematic and bumpy”.
“The year 2010 could already be a positive year, but with a very slow growth," Gurria said after a meeting with Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, as quoted by SITA. " I do not expect that Slovakia would slip into red digits, and as far as OECD countries are concerned, we expect an improvement in the situation, but still very slow growth.”
The situation in large economies such as Germany, France and the UK as well as the performance of neighbouring countries and the whole eurozone will be important for Slovakia.
Updated OECD prognoses to be released in March project Slovakia’s economic growth rate at 2 percent, in contrast with the 4 percent predicted in December 2008.
“We know what is happening,” Gerria said. “Those figures for 2009 will go down. However, Slovakia will still be among the best countries within the OECD.”
Gurria finds it important to concentrate on three spheres of structural issues – the labour market, productivity and housing. In these spheres Slovakia must adopt various measures, boost flexibility and competitiveness and benefit from its comparative advantage, he said. Measures to help and protect the most vulnerable people are welcome, as are those with mid-term and long-term contributions such as building infrastructure via public-private partnerships, he said.
Anti-crisis measures have to be targeted and temporary, with good timing, and according to Gurria, Slovakia is taking correct steps in this regard.
However, he said crisis-related problems cannot prevent countries from concentrating on mid-term and long-term goals, such as the fight against climate change and poverty.
The crisis cannot be used as an excuse for protectionist measures either in trade or in investments, Gurria added.
16. Feb 2009 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff from press reports