By the year-end, 3 billion dinars worth of grants will be made available to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Serbia.
State Secretary at the Ministry of Economy Dragan Stevanovic says that the government is aware of the importance of the SMS sector for our economy and that the number of beneficiaries and the amount of financial support increase each year.
“For next year, we will project an even greater amount,” says Stevanovic, adding that in 2018, 1.65 billion were spent under the three financial assistance programmes.
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“In the last two years we have also provided additional funds for grants compared to what was originally planned because of the greater number of beneficiaries,” Stevanovic added.
Quarterly and annual reports, he said, show dominant growth in the manufacturing sector, precisely in the areas where more money is spent through the mentioned programmes.
“About 7 billion dinars will be spent on small and medium enterprises this year through grants, which represent 20% to 30% of the total money allocated to investments and loans,” Stevanovic underlines and adds that the allocated financial assistance should be spent on purchasing new equipment, reconstruction, development and technological renewal.
Stevanovic also comments on the claim that more state subsidies are awarded to foreign than to domestic companies, and adds that, last year, 13 domestic companies and 11 foreign companies received subsidies.
“So far, Serbian companies did not have enough capacity to launch an investment that will result in the employment of between 1,000 and 3,000 people, but rather they have sufficient capacity to employ between 100 and 200 people,” explains Stevanovic.
“We need time to change that. The five-year reforms we are implementing have produced results and I believe that an increasing number of our companies will be able to implement them in the future,” said the Secretary of State.
He says that in the year ending 5th September, 27 investment incentive contracts were signed – 9 with domestic companies and 18 with foreign companies.
However, companies applying for subsidies must be registered as a local company.
Stevanovic points out that, the plan is, that out of EUR 12 billion, which is how much the state’s investment plan is worth, EUR 100 million will be made available to SMEs over the next five years.
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