The pandemic is inflicting much suffering, which has been met with swift, substantial, and well-coordinated policy responses. The anti-crisis measures have helped preserve jobs, provide liquidity to companies and income support to the vulnerable groups. They averted a larger decline in output and kept unemployment under control. After contracting by 5.5 percent in 2020, real GDP is projected to grow by 3.9 percent in 2021 and 4.5 percent in 2022, as vaccinations help achieve herd immunity. However, risks to the outlook are large and tilted to the downside, given the epidemiological situation.
This Selected Issues paper argues that revenue-neutral tax rebalancing would help Slovenia address long-term fiscal and growth challenges. The present tax-benefit system is supportive of distributional fairness in Slovenia; however, it is argued that tax reform can help bring stronger employment and productivity growth and enhanced resilience to the challenges of population ageing. The paper lays out the case for tax reform in view of long-run fiscal and growth challenges and it also reviews the current tax system and its weaknesses in comparison with international best practices. The paper also sets out tax reform options and uses a model simulation to illustrate the medium- to long-term fiscal and growth impact. The analysis on the tax rebalancing impact suggests that it can permanently and significantly increase potential output in Slovenia. The simulations indicate that a revenue-neutral tax rebalancing has positive fiscal and growth benefits over time.
This Article IV Consultation highlights that the continued structural reforms are key to ensure long-term prosperity, while strengthening the economy’s resilience to shocks. Effective implementation of the recently enacted reforms of vocational training, apprenticeship, and adult education would help address skill shortages, support employment of younger and older people, and boost productivity growth. Macro-financial legacy issues remain in bank and corporate balance sheets, including small and medium enterprises’ nonperforming loans. Structural challenges persist with low productivity growth, skills shortages, high tax wedge, heavy regulatory system, and extensive presence of state-owned enterprises. Policies should focus on fiscal and structural reforms to rebuild fiscal buffers and increase productivity. Slovenia’s external position in 2018 is assessed as substantially stronger than suggested by fundamentals and desirable policies; however the current account is expected to revert toward its norm in the medium term. Continued structural reforms are key to ensure long-term prosperity, while strengthening the economy’s resilience to shocks. Effective implementation of the recently enacted reforms of vocational training, apprenticeship, and adult education would help address skill shortages, support employment of younger and older people, and boost productivity growth.