Ljubljana, 26 March (STA) - The Economy Ministry released on Friday a call to applications for promoting foreign direct investments (FDI) in Slovenia in 2010 and 2011. A total of EUR 14.5m in subsidies will be made available over the two years.
The tender is the main instrument for promoting FDI in Slovenia. In presenting the measures, officials of the Economy Ministry said that Slovenia still has a lot of work to do in the field, as the share of FDI in the economy continues to stand below the EU average.
Economy Ministry State Secretary Darja Radic told the press that Slovenia wants to put emphasis on quality rather than quantity of FDI. The goal is to promote the development of high technology companies and the creation of jobs.
"Our goal is to increase the annual inflow of FDI by 2% this year. We would like to see FDI channeled in high tech companies and the creation of 500 new jobs," said Radic.
Of the EUR 14.5m earmarked for the two year, EUR 6.5m will be available this year and the rest next year. The subsidies are intended for initial investments.
The mechanism for this year will be open until 9 September or until all the funds are used up. A total of four dates have been set for the opening of bids for both years.
Alfred Killer, who is in charge of the ministry's department for foreign economic relations, explained that Slovenia also wants to attract FDI that will contribute to more balanced regional development by taking into consideration the development of the region where the investment is headed.
The subsidies will be made available to companies registered in Slovenia in which foreign investors have at least a 10% direct stake. It applies to the manufacturing, services and research and development sectors.
The tender is being managed by the Public Agency for Entrepreneurship and Foreign Investments (JAPTI), whose director Igor Plestenjak told the press that the subsidies are intended for material and non-material investments.
Small and medium-sized companies can also register up to 50% of the costs related to market research and consultancy and the costs of creating new jobs.
Apart from the condition of the creation of jobs, the tender also sets the value and quality of the investment as criteria. "In this way we want to value the investment as a whole, not just the jobs it creates," Plestenjak said.
Plestenjak explained that JAPTI had 546 contacts with potential foreign investors in 2009 and 120 so far this year. Among these are three large European corporations who are eying entry to Slovenia.
Last year a total of EUR 4.95m was approved for 12 FDI projects, but since two projects were later stopped, the total amount paid out in subsidies was EUR 3.29m. The funds sufficed for bringing EUR 40m in FDI to Slovenia.