STA, 25 April 2019 - The opposition Democrats (SDS) filed into parliamentary procedure on Thursday a bill on the creation of a demographic fund to prop up the pension system. In line with the proposal, all of state assets would be transferred to the fund, which would mainly finance pensions.
SDS head Janez Janša called on all parliamentary parties to add their remarks. The only point the SDS will insist on is the transfer of all state assets onto the fund, he said.
Otherwise the arguing over which assets should be transferred to the fund will go on forever, he said.
The aim of the bill is to improve the financial situation of pensioners, which is currently below the level of Slovenia's development, and lift the pressure off employers and employees, who have to pay increasingly high contributions to the pension fund to keep the pension system sustainable.
He noted that the name National Pension Fund would be more appropriate than the demographic fund.
According to Janša, the transfer of all state assets onto the fund would also facilitate management of state assets, which is currently not transparent because it is divided among several institutions.
The role of the sole shareholder would be assumed by the National Assembly to make sure that the management of state assets would not be "in the hands of those on power."
In line with the SDS's proposal, the current custodian of state assets, Slovenian Sovereign Holding, would be transformed into the Slovenian demographic fund.
All other investments of the state, the pension fund management KAD fund, the real estate investment firm DSU and the Pension and Disability Insurance Institute (ZPIZ), the public pension insurer, would also be transferred to the new fund.
According to SDS MP Andrej Šircelj, the fund would have a supervisory board and a management.
The supervisory board would have 13 members, put forward by deputy groups. The number of members put forward by each deputy group would depend on the size of the deputy group.
The supervisors would be appointed by the National Assembly with a two-thirds majority of all MPs present.
The management of the fund would consist of the chairman and two members, who would be appointed by the supervisors based on a public call for applications.
Every year, the fund would give 50% of the dividends and rents it would receive, and 10% of all sale proceeds to ZPIZ.
The remaining 50% of the dividends and rents, and 40% of sale proceeds would be accumulated.
The demographic fund would allocate 50% of sale proceeds to the state budget to pay off debts.
The idea of a demographic fund as one of possible instruments to ensure a long-term sustainability of the pension system was floated years ago.
Its establishment was envisaged under the 2013 pension reform of the Alenka Bratušek government and every government since has dealt with the issue.
The current government coalition has also committed to founding such a fund in its coalition agreement. While the Finance Ministry has not revealed when the bill would be ready, Karl Erjavec, the head of the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), indicated that it might be ready this autumn.
Reacting to the SDS's motion today, most parties said they would study the proposal and respond to Janša's invitations to talks. The ministry, as well, said that it would study the proposal, although it was working on its own bill.
The coalition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) and the Modern Centre Party (SMC) expressed belief that any proposal on how to shape the fund would be useful and worth debating.
Matjaž Han, deputy group head of the coalition Social Democrats (SD), said that establishing a demographic fund would be much more than a project of a single party, this government or this coalition. This would be a project of the generation and a topic that must be discussed.
Erjavec meanwhile said that this was an important bill but expressed fear that the motion was politically motivated, adding that if the SDS were serious about it, it would have endorsed a similar bill drafted by DeSUS.
He said he was looking forward to seeing the bill drafted by the Finance Ministry. The ministry meanwhile said the task force working on the bill would model the bill on best practices of similar funds abroad.
All out stories on demographics in Slovenia can be found here
STA, 4 January 2019 - A total of 19,123 births were given in Slovenian maternity wards in 2018, down from 19,706 in 2017, which is a 3% drop, according to unofficial figures released by the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ). This means that the trend of falling recorded since 2011 continues.
The final number of children born in 2018 is not available yet, but given that an average 3% of newborns come from multiple pregnancies, the NIJZ believes almost 19,500 babies were born in Slovenia last year.
Since the NIJZ started gathering birth statistics in 1988, 2003 was the year when the fewest children were born in Slovenia - only 16,917.
The number of newborns was then increasing until 2010, when 22,002 babies were born, but the trend reversed in 2011, with the number of newborns dropping to 21,567.
However, the NIJZ says on its website that last year's drop was much bigger than those in the 2011-2017 period.
Meanwhile, the largest number of babies in the country with a two-million population in the past 30 years - as many as 26,442 - was born 1988.
STA, 24 November 2018 - The state budget generated almost one billion euro in revenue from the privatisation of state assets in the last six years, with the recent sale of a 65% stake in the NLB bank actually representing the bulk of it. Among the most profitable years were also 2014 and 2016, when the state sold some major investments.
With the share of the country's largest bank sold at EUR 51.50 at the recent IPO, the state received the proceeds amounting to EUR 609m.
"The proceeds from the sale of the capital investment in NLB have been transferred to the budget and used for repayment of debt in accordance with the public finance act," the Finance Ministry has told the STA.
More than EUR 540m or 90% of the proceeds have been earmarked for debt repayment, and the remaining 10% have been transferred onto a special account of the ministry.
The money will be reserved for the planned independent demographic fund, which is a response to the demographic changes and which looks to ensure long-term stability of the pension system.
The special account for the demographic fund has been holding ten percent of the proceeds from all privatisation deals since April 2014, when the law on Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH), the custodian of state assets, entered into force.
A total of EUR 97m has been collected on the account so far.
Since 2013, when the National Assembly confirmed a list of 15 companies for privatisation, the national budget has received a total of EUR 983.7m in proceeds.
Before the SSH law entered into force, all proceeds were spent for repayment of debt, which stood at EUR 31.8bn at the end of last year.
Due to the economic growth Slovenia has been recording in the recent years, its share in the country's GDP has been decreasing, standing at 74.1% at the end of last year.
The first companies to be privatised were coatings maker Helios in October 2013 and medical laser maker Fotona in January 2014, followed by car electronics maker Letrika and Ljubljana airport operator Aerodrom Ljubljana.
Proceeds from the privatisations completed in 2014 amounted to EUR 119m.
In mid-2015, the state-owned owners of sports equipment maker Elan sold the company for a symbolic sum, with the new owners, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Wiltan Enterprises, securing EUR 12m as a return of state aid received in 2008.
Aircraft maintenance company Adria Airways Tehnika was also sold in 2015 to the Polish Linetech Holding for around EUR 1m.
In the same year, the US investment fund Apollo and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development bought NKBM, the second-largest bank in the country, for EUR 250m, while bread and pasta maker Žito was acquired by Croatia's Podravka.
The privatised companies from the list also include car parts maker Cimos, tissue maker Paloma, and airline Adria Airways.
All our stories on privatisation in Slovenia are here
STA, 1 November 2018 - There were a total of 2,070,050 residents in Slovenia at the beginning of July 2018, which is 3,170 more than at the beginning of January, but the number of Slovenian citizens living in the country was down, while the number of residents with foreign citizenship increased.
The share of foreigners in the total population was up to 6.1%, with their number standing at 126,923, the Statistics Office has reported.
In the first half of the year, the number of Slovenian citizens living in Slovenia was down by almost 1,900, while the number of foreign citizens was up by more than 5,000.
At the beginning of July, there were 1,030,234 men and 1,039,816 women living in Slovenia. The share of women, which has been very slowly decreasing for a number of years, was 51.2%.
The share of women among the foreign citizens living in Slovenia was 34.9%. The share was up by 1.8 percentage points in the last four years.
The Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (SURS) is a treasure trove of regularly updated data on all aspects of the nation, and it’s well run website that more than repays time spent exploring it.