The prospering economy has boosted employment and reduced unemployment to historical low levels. The risk of overheating is increasing with double digit growth in wages and higher consumer price inflation, although it remains within the central bank’s tolerance band. The recovery could be prolonged if the supportive macroeconomic policies become more restrictive. Looking ahead, public spending pressures are increasing with population ageing and unless corrective measures are taken public debt may increase again. Reform of the pension system needs to contain rising pension spending and old-age poverty. At the same time, a more flexible health sector is needed to respond to the changing demands arising from population ageing. Economic growth has been geographical uneven as the capital has benefitted from growth enhancing agglomeration effects and some regions, particularly in the west of the country, have benefitting from strong inwards FDIs. On the other hand, poor and rural regions are left behind as they lack integration into local and national supply chains. Development policies tend to pursue centrally determined objectives, while local authorities have few possibilities for identifying and implementing projects that are best suited for bolstering local growth.
SPECIAL FEATURES: AGEING; REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT