Belgrade, June 26th, 2014 – The Foreign Investors Council organized today its fourth Reality Check Conference with the aim to discuss with the new Government how to create sustainable business framework conducive to growth. In an open dialogue with the Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić and ministers, representatives of the Foreign Investors Council discussed status of reforms and ways towards obtaining sustainable business environment.
In his introductory speech, FIC President Frederic Coin said “Now more than ever, after a big tragedy that hit Serbia, Government needs to conduct and execute deep reforms, because current environment is not sustainable for anyone. Recent disaster should be a trigger to accelerate reforms, not stall them down. Because reforms are the only way to create functional framework to support economic growth and facilitate the needs of the society”. He underlined that the Government should create level playing field through privatization and make efficient public sector, improve regulations and in particular their enforcement. Priorities lay in 5 areas: to make fully EU-harmonized and coherent legal framework, bring consistency in the tax system, create more flexible labour market, streamline real-estate regulations and establish efficient market surveillance system, noted FIC President. “We all need to work together to build a better environment. FIC offers its knowledge and experience how to navigate through economic transition and current crisis and we are willing to put it to use for greater benefit of Serbian market”, he concluded.
In overview of past half-a-year, Coin noted that some changes have been made but there was no critical improvement of the business climate. Poor implementation of the laws remains the key problem in the business environment in Serbia. Some progress is marked in the areas of overall legal framework, tax, illicit trade, telecommunications and IT, food & agriculture, leasing and insurance; while almost no progress is marked in the areas of human resources and real-estate. At the same time, FIC acknowledges existing Government activities on bankruptcy, labour and real estate regulations and notes that current draft Labour Law responds to 65% of FIC White Book recommendations.
The conference achieved its goal to enable exchange of views on how to overcome current economic situation and create sustainable business environment conducive to growth.
The Reality Check Conference brings together chief executives of FIC member companies and high Government officials to discuss business climate issues, with selected group of diplomats as guests. The conference consists of parallel working sessions on specific business climate topics followed by plenary session with high Government officials.
About FIC:The FIC continues to expand, gathering 130 foreign companies, who have invested more than EUR 20 billion, contributed to 17.5% of GDP in 2012 and directly employ more than 95,000 people in Serbia, based on further growth and inflow of new members. The main goal of the association is to influence the improvement of business climate in Serbia by making concrete reform proposals and building a business portal for communication with the authorities in Serbia.
FIC is also focusing on promoting solid business ethics and high corporate governance principles within the organization and towards local companies, Government, and other external stakeholders. In response to recent floods, FIC member companies have so-far donated around 6,7 million EUR in money and goods, engaged over 1000 volunteers and made available wide range of equipment and services. And donations continue. Through support and active engagement of membership, the FIC has proven to be a strict guardian of the business community interests and at the same time a reliable partner to the Government.