FinMin says gov't working on measures to boost domestic capital market

Photo /Vijesti/2018/03 ožujak/22 ožujka/Press Z Maric/DSC_7270.jpg

Finance Minister Zdravko Maric has said that the bill on the capital market which the government forwarded to the parliament on Thursday will facilitate the financing of small and medium businesses, and announced that his ministry will work on measures to revive the domestic capital market.

The bill on the capital market that was forwarded to the parliament today transposes into national legislation a European markets in financial instruments directive with the aim of additionally increasing transparency and investor protection.

Speaking to reporters after a government session held this morning, Maric said that the bill consisted of 739 articles.

"... The crucial segment is the MiFID directive, which we had the obligation to implement, however, some time was needed to analyse everything and transpose it into our legal system," said Maric.

The directive regulates all instruments traded on the market, not only stock instruments.

"The recent economic and financial crisis has actually opened up many questions and it was necessary to regulate also the segment of non-stock instruments," said Maric.

So far, non-stock instruments such as derivatives, bonds and similar instruments have been traded largely outside regulated markets, that is, on over-the-counter (OTC) markets, said Maric.

Under the bill, most such transactions will be transferred to regulated markets, he said.

"We are well aware of the situation on the capital market in Croatia, which definitely requires not only a regulatory framework like this one but a number of other measures to kick-start it," said Maric.

He underlined that the bill also envisaged a platform for the growing market of small and medium businesses.

"In recent years that market segment has been dealing with a chronic lack of capital and better sources of financing for development and investments," he said, noting that the platform for small and medium businesses, envisaged by the bill, would help entrepreneurs obtain additional financing.

He underlined that the bill was also about investor protection, supervision of issuers' financial reporting and greater powers of the HANFA regulatory agency.

The minister said that the expected one-off cost of implementation of the directive at EU level was estimated at between 500-700 million euros, with annual costs expected to amount to 250-500 million euros.

In Croatia's case, the cost is nowhere near that amount, the minister said, noting that only a dozen of more liquid stocks were traded on the domestic capital market, with a poor daily turnover, that solely government bonds were traded on the OTC market while the derivatives market was only beginning to develop.

Asked about Tax Administration head Zdravko Zrinusic's statement that under certain conditions and with reform implementation the standard VAT rate could be reduced to 20%, Maric said the announcement about a 20% VAT rate was "a little too ambitious".

VAT is an economic issue but it always has political connotations, he said, adding that during this year additional analyses of the tax system and the tax reform would be made.

"Thanks to budget reorganisation we have practically annulled the deficit that stood at around 5% of GDP and the growing public debt," he said, adding that he believed that further tax cuts should be made and that a comprehensive solution would be worked on, to go into force in early 2019.

He noted that he was against any major changes of tax legislation in the course of a year and that attempts would be made to stimulate investments and economic development through the taxation system.

Text: Hina

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