Debts written off for 5,800 citizens

So far 5,800 citizens have been granted debt write-offs and 9,000 applications are still being processed, Deputy Prime Minister and Social Policy and Youth Minister Milanka Opacic said after a government session on Thursday.

The government is "searching for" citizens who could but are not participating in the debt write-off scheme, because nearly 5,000 social benefits' beneficiaries have not applied for a write-off despite qualifying, Opacic said, adding that social welfare centres were sending them additional information on the government scheme.

Commenting on criticisms that the scheme was a failure because the debt write-offs mostly referred to mobile phone bills, Opacic said the scheme was conceived for people who lost their job, who did not wantonly run into debt but found themselves unable to service their liabilities.

Asked if it was surprising that the bulk of the debts was owed to telecom companies, she said it was not because analyses had shown that they were the biggest creditors, followed by banks, the state, and public utilities.

Virtually every citizen who is under distraint owes money to the telecoms, which are willing to give up part of their revenue for the debt write-offs, Opacic said.

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