Foreign investors urge govt. to conduct reforms

The government's anti-crisis measures are "a step in the right direction in order to improve the business environment in Serbia and stimulate economic growth."

Source: Tanjug
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"But it is now crucial to implement those measures," President of the Foreign Investors Council in Serbia Frederic Coin added on Thursday.

"If the government does not strengthen the public administration's capacity to conduct the announced reforms, the expected improvement might not happen," Coin, who is president of the Executive Board of Societe Generale Banka Srbija, said presenting the 2013 White Book.

The publication represents a general picture of the business environment in Serbia.

Last year, the entire economy faced difficult challenges in Serbia and Europe and, unfortunately, one cannot expect great improvements in the coming years, because the growth will remain low, he stressed.

Maintaining macroeconomic stability and reducing and controlling the budget deficit and the public debt are the chief recommendations by the Foreign Investors Council for improving business in Serbia, Coin stated.

"The second important thing is to start reforming the judiciary and eduction, modernize the policy concerning government property and its companies and set up equal market conditions for everyone," he noted.

One of the main recommendations is to improve business by reducing bureaucracy, which would allow companies to be more efficient, Coin said.

"It is important that the government said it would soon adopt laws on labor, planning and construction," he pointed out.

"It is also significant that Serbia has made a great step towards EU integration, which has created an opportunity to speed up reforms, and the Foreign Investors Council is willing to assist the government with its members' experience and knowledge in law creation and implementation," he underscored.

"New era"

The Serbian government has reached a consensus on the implementation of economic measures and the priorities lie in the search for a solution to the high public debt and low competitiveness, Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dačić stated on Thursday.

At the Presentation of the 2013 White Book of Foreign Investors' Council in Serbia which offers a comprehensive image of the business climate in the country, Dačić said that the outline of the plan of economic reforms covers public sector reform and finalization of the privatization process, adding that the implementation of already adopted laws is also important.

“We have major ambitions in 2014 concerning the implementation of laws, and the plan of economic measures has to be turned to the future. We need to implement measures in the fields which have been put off for years now, such as the strengthening of social protection, reform of the pension and health-care insurance, changes in the tax system, modernization of education and science system and reform of the public administration,” prime minister said.

He noted that the three key factors necessary for the economic recovery comprise a defined role of the state in the market, introduction of equal rights of game for all and a more efficient public administration as a service of citizens and economy.

Noting that a lot has changed since last year in Serbia as the country bravely faced major problems and the government demonstrated that it is doing its job and achieving results, the prime minister stated that major political problems were tabled first, primarily the issue of Kosovo.

"We have launched a new era and began tackling major issues," Dačić said and underscored that a lot of obstacles are still ahead but the government will not renounce the search for the most functional solution.

As the most important matter, Dačić noted the improved position of Serbia due to its EU candidate status, adding that opening the technical talks on EU membership in a few months would initiate processes that would change Serbia forever.

Dačić said that the public debate on the law on planning and construction began a week ago and that the work on the preparation of labor law is underway, "and a series of session and consultations would be held these days."

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