Croatia raises minimum wage

By UnreguserGao Lei

ZAGREB, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Croatian government announced on Thursday a 4.6-percent increase in minimum wage that will take effect from Jan. 1, 2021.

Instead of 3,250 kuna (504 U.S. dollars), which is the minimum net wage today, the new minimum net wage will be 3,400 kuna.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said during a cabinet meeting that the minimum wage has increased by 36 percent since 2016, national news agency HINA reported.

The government on Thursday sent to the parliament a draft revised budget for 2020 that predicts 131.1 billion kuna in its revenue side and expenditures of 155.9 billion kuna. The budget deficit will be eight percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said at a government session that the new budget is based on the projection of five percent economic growth in 2021, 3.4 percent in 2022, and 3.1 percent in 2023. He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had significantly reduced budget revenues.

The minister told reporters after the government session that because of the COVID-19 crisis this year, Croatia has a loss of 20 billion kuna.

According to Maric, tourism and catering in October were at 60 percent of last year's turnover, although he assessed that retail was doing well, while industry was doing relatively well.

Croatia confirmed its first COVID-19 infection on Feb. 25. There have been a record number of 2,776 new cases in the last 24 hours, and 14,031 cases remain active, the Croatian Institute of Public Health reported on Thursday. The country has so far registered over 43,000 infections and 511 deaths.

As the world is struggling to control the pandemic, countries across the globe -- among them Germany, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States -- are racing to find a vaccine. According to the website of the World Health Organization, as of Oct. 19, there were 198 COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 44 of them were in clinical trials.

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