Kosovo expects five percent GDP growth

Prishtinë, 19 March 2009 – Kosovo expects economic growth of five percent and is planning large privatizations, it was stated at a meeting with a Slovenian business delegation.

According to the latest estimates, the Kosovo government expects GDP growth of five percent this year, which is less than the planned six percent. The adjustment is a result of the current world financial crisis.

Last year, Kosovo had economic growth of 5.3 percent, said Kosovo Economy and Finance Minister Ahmet Shala.

Shala made the statements after a meeting between officials from the Slovenian Telekom company, Slovenian journalists and Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi.

During yesterday’s visit of a 40-strong business delegation from Slovenia, Thaçi said that Kosovo “has opened a good atmosphere for business and investment,” adding that the “Kosovo government would value every piece of advice, proposal and criticism to improve things further.”

“We are very open to dialogue, we are business partners,” Thaçi said, adding that the government had turned Kosovo into “one of the countries with the lowest tax burdens since its independence declaration on February 17 of last year.”

Shala said that the government was planning large privatization projects, including the privatization of the postal service and Telekom Kosovo.

“All these projects are needed for the country’s capital and knowledge, which is why Slovenia and other partners are more than welcome in cooperation during international public tenders,” Shala said, adding that the government expected a record year in terms of foreign investment.

Shala said that Slovenia was a pioneer in doing business with Kosovo, which was a sign of confidence in the future and leadership of Kosovo, as well as in business opportunities.

He also called on Slovenian investors to sustain the trend of cooperation, and thanked them for what they had already done for the Kosovo’s economy.

Thaçi reminded his guests that Kosovo had been recognized by 56 countries and that “independence has brought more peace and stability on a regional level, and a greater European perspective for the Western Balkans.”

The Slovenian delegation will continue its visit to Kosovo today.

Last year, Slovenian exports to Kosovo totalled EUR 83mn, with EUR 3mn worth of products going in the opposite direction.

The Bank of Slovenia is expected to release figures soon on total Slovenian investments in Kosovo, which look to be close to EUR 200mn.

Source: B92