POLITICAL ADVERTISING: “ProInvest”- Government “On the Road Again”

Last week, the government decided to begin a high-level investment promotion road show through Croatia – Split (25 Feb), Osijek (11 March), Varazdin (25 March), Rijeka (8 April), Zagreb (22 April). The promotion tour is meant to promote the government’s investment policies to entrepreneurs and will include presentations by 1/4th of the government cabinet and other high-level government and state agency officials.

The “ProInvest” seminar tour will include: Deputy Prime Minister Branko Grcic (SDP), Economy Minister Ivan Vrdoljak (HNS), Tourism Minister Veljko Ostojic (IDS), Entrepreneurship Minister Gordan Maras (SDP), Labour Minister Mirando Mrsic (SDP), Deputy Finance Minister Boris Lalovac, Head of Croatian Bank of Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) Anton Kovacev, Director of the Agency for Investment and Competition (AIK) Damir Novinic.

The road show’s program is to present the government’s policies for the promotion of investment in the private sector, SMEs, possibilities of EU co-financing of projects, HBOR’s programs to support SMEs, government measures promoting employment initiatives, tourism incentives, etc.

Given the “across the board” negative economic indicators in Croatia, especially regarding investment statistics, it is inevitable that this initiative has been received as a PR initiative by the government to promote its policies, even though they haven’t resulted in significant investment successes, and an attempt to simultaneously support the government coalition’s electoral candidates in lieu of the upcoming local elections in May.

From a strictly pragmatic perspective and taking into account Croatia’s decision-making tradition, the fact that a quarter of the government cabinet will be preoccupied with a promotional tour for the next 2 months is a serious concern; during this period, the pragmatic every day operations (i.e. decision-making) of these government administrations will stagnate, during another year of economic recession and during the crucial Q1/Q2 period of 2013.

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