"You Can't Teach an Old Dog New Tricks"
June 4, 2012
Guest Contributor, Zagreb, Croatia
Last week, Slavko Linić, Croatia's Minister of Finance came out with the statement that HEP and INA are, among others, responsible for the fall in industrial production in Croatia. He further stated that the shipyards that must be “restructured”. Linić also mentioned credits for companies in difficulty as well as development of new passenger cars for the railway company.
Such credits usually end up as being gifts as they were in thedays of Yugoslavia. As usual, there was no mention of quality privatizations involving foreign strategic investors that could make some of the half-dead, industrial dinosaurs such as Đuro Đaković capable of competing on the international market.
People like Linić, from the communist school, are never willing to permit a vibrant and functioning free market economy and instead always fall back on government-sponsored projects such as those for infrastructure that can be carried out by a group of state-owned companies enabling the managers to divy up the spoils of kickbacks from suppliers and subcontractors.
To be fair, one of the main causes for the fall of industrial production is the worldwide recession. However, if there were more companies in Croatia that were able to compete on the international market, the situation would be considerably better. Linić is also concentrating heavily on more aggressive enforcement of the burdensome tax load on both companies and individuals while making no serious effort to reduce the size of the bloated government bureaucracy and the armies of parasites, including people with phony veteran and invalid pensions and those working for state-owned companies such as HEP and Zagreb Holding, many with superfluous and no-show jobs.
It is unrealistic to expect people such as Linić to make the radical reforms necessary to put Croatia on the right track. As they say “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”.