Prime Minister Robert Fico said on Tuesday, June 30, that he does not see any reason to provide a loan to the state-run Lesy SR (Forests of Slovakia) before the changes in the effectiveness of its management are seen, the Government Office press department told the TASR newswire.
At the government session on Wednesday, July 1 the Prime Minister also expects broader discussion on the current situation at Lesy SR. The material that Agriculture Minister Stanislav Becík had submitted to the session included a proposal to use state financial assets to provide repayable financial assistance to Lesy SR's Banská Bystrica branch amounting to €67 million, with a 10-year repayment period, beginning in 2012.
Several employees of Lesy SR’s general directorate recently sent an open letter to PM Fico and the agriculture minister in which they, among other things, hold Lesy SR director Jozef Minďáš responsible for the deteriorating economic situation – aided by the global crisis. That's why they asked in their letter to the PM and the minister not to let the most important company in the field of forestry in Slovakia to become destabilised.
Minďáš rejected the criticisms in the letter that his decisions, as well as the decisions of the company management, are influenced by cronyism and lobbyists and that this has impeded the consolidation of the economic situation of the company. He also rejected allegations that the company rented hunting grounds for non-profitable prices and that he hasn't managed restructuring. In his opinion, the management of the company has adopted sufficient measures to manage its unfavourable economic situation. Lesy SR employs some 4,300 people, of which some 3,200 are members of 30 local trade union organisations.
On July 1, PM Fico called on the minister Becík to sack the head of Lesy SR. Becík acknowledged this request and should start acting in this case as soon as possible, TASR wrote. The cabinet interrupted further preparation of the loan documents. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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1. Jul 2009 at 14:00