October 16, 2018 / 3:41 PM / a month ago

EBRD urges further privatisation, pension reform in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Slovenia should press ahead with privatisations to improve its competitiveness and reform its pension system over the medium-term, a senior official at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said on Tuesday.

“Privatisation is really important for overall productivity in the economy and raising the level of competitiveness,” Charlotte Ruhe, EBRD Managing Director for Central and South Eastern Europe, said in an interview during a visit to Ljubljana.

She welcomed the fact that the new centre-left government, which took power in September, has already started privatising state-owned banks Nova Ljubljanska Banka and Abanka, adding she expected further selloffs in the coming years.

Ruhe, after holding meetings with government officials, said the government was likely to sell some tourism firms and could start privatisation of the largest telecoms operator, Telekom Slovenia, in the second half of 2019.

She also said the government would have to reform the pension system to ease the burden of a rapidly ageing population on the state budget, giving no further details.

Earlier on Tuesday the government’s macroeconomic institute UMAR said Slovenia should increase productivity in order to be able to meet public sector unions’ demands for higher wages.

Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Gareth Jones

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