Of 57 companies that received EUR 239.5 million in state incentives and subsidies in the period from 2014 to 2017, only 7 are from Serbia, and 21 are operating with losses – according to a report compiled by the Anti-Corruption Council.
For instance, the Truck Lite Europe Company from Belgrade, which has 0 (in letters – zero) employees, received EUR 3 million of subsidies from the Ministry of Economy in 2014, the report says.
This company, whose founder is from Germany and which received incentive funds for the production of lighting equipment, has not yet built a factory in Ćuprija, where it undertook to employ 500 workers, although it was four years ago since it had received the incentives.
Loss of business
The subsidies in the amount of EUR 8 million, for the same purpose, were also disbursed to an investor from Austria, that is the ZG Lighting SRB doo Company from Belgrade. There is no information in the Business Register Agency (APR) about this company in terms of the number of employees and its financial results.
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Out of 57 investors, ten investors are engaged in the production of electrical, electronic and other equipment for motor vehicles, for which they received incentive funds in the amount of EUR 68.4 million and according to the latest APR data, they have 5.121 employees. Six companies that were the recipients of state subsidies have been operating with a total loss of more than EUR 10 million – says the Council’s report.
Receiving subsidies, going overdraft
The report of the Anti-Corruption Council also states that three investors in the food production, processing and trade segment have received more than EUR 10 million in incentives, and they employ a total of 122 workers.
“For some of them, such as CG Foods Europe from Nova Pazova, which majority owner is from the UAE, the funds were approved in 2015 in the amount of almost EUR 4 million, although the company has only four employees and the loss in the amount of 19.6 million dinars” – the Council’s report says.
It is interesting to note that the Chinese company, Mei Ta Europe from Obrenovac received EUR 21 million in incentives, according to APR data, and the same year ended with a net loss of more than 70 million dinars, or EUR 590,000. More alarming is the fact that this company, which is completely owned by Mei Ta Co. Limited from Cyprus, last year recorded a minus 1.4 billion dinars, or EUR 11.9 million.
Jelisaveta Vasilić, a member of the Anti-Corruption Council, points out that the main problem is that Serbia has no state aid law.
“This means that we do not have regulations on who is competent to grant state aid, the conditions under which they are granted and no selection process in place. If we had such regulation, then we would have a proper control over the given aid. Now, it is impossible to exercise any control when there are no basic guidelines for allocation of financial assistance. In fact, the assistance is collected in the State Aid Control Commission, that, as far as we could tell, does not implement any control whatsoever,” says Jelisaveta Vasilić.
(Nova Ekonomija, 27.09.2018)
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