Mramor named Europe's top finance minister of 2016

Ljubljana, 4 January - Finance Minister Dušan Mramor is Europe's best finance minister of 2016 according to the London-based magazine The Banker, which is owned by The Financial Times. The five Finance Minister of the Year 2016 awards celebrate officials around the world who have best managed to stimulate growth and stabilise their economy.

Finance Minister Dušan Mramor in this photo from December 2012.
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Mramor was selected finance minister of the year for Europe due to his contribution to Slovenia's recovery from recession and stabilisation of the country's banking system, according to editor Stefanie Linhardt.

He was also honoured for continuing the privatisation process and implementing reforms aimed at consolidating Slovenia's public finances.

"As the economy bounced back to 3% GDP growth in 2014, Slovenia's finance minister, Dušan Mramor, kept a firm eye on the country's budgetary deficit - one of his main aims - from heights of 15% in 2013 it fell by 10 percentage points in 2014, with expectations for less than 3% in 2015 and 2.2% and 1.7% in the following two years," reads The Banker's press release.

Mramor is honoured to receive the title and sees it as an international recognition to Slovenia, according to the Slovenian Finance Ministry.

"Slovenia has managed to emerge from a deep financial crisis in just two years with a determined and smart economic policy. This would of course not be possible without exemplary cooperation of key institutions - the government, the National Assembly and the central bank," the ministry said in a press release.

Prime Minister Miro Cerar responded to the news by saying that the title was a great recognition, foremost of the minister, but partly also of the government, "who supported the minister in this difficult situation we inherited from previous periods".

"And we have nevertheless succeeded, with his great engagement, in making important steps in the consolidation of public finances, from adopting the fiscal rule to reducing the deficit and stabilising the public debt," Cerar said on the sidelines of a diplomatic meeting at Brdo pri Kranju.

But the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), Slovenia's largest industrial association, believes the title is more in recognition of Marmor's predecessors Janez Šušteršič and Uroš Čufer, while it gave Mramor the credit for sticking to the roadmap and not always yielding to pressure for a hike in public spending.

"It would be right of Mramor to symbolically share the recognition with those who have contributed the most so that Slovenia's image in the international financial public is much better than some years ago."

The GZS noted that a similar title was won in 2005 by the then Finance Minister Andrej Bajuk, and that then too the credit should go mainly to Mramor, who had served as finance minister before Bajuk.

The GZS believes that Mramor has failed to do his homework on public expenditure. "He is implementing financial consolidation with an additional tightening of the tax belt. Borrowing costs have been reduced indeed, but it was due to decisions taken before him and due to success of a large portion of the economy, which contributed the most to GDP growth."

Mramor was honoured as the top finance minister for Europe alongside Ram Sharan Mahat, former finance minister of Nepal (for Asia-Pacific), Alonso Segura of Peru (for the Americas), Ali Shareef Al Emadi of Qatar (for the Middle East) and Adriano Maleiane of Mozambique (for Africa).

© STA, 2016