Djukic: Serbia will be severely hit by the crisis, similar to that from 1999

Petar Djukic, professor of economics at the Faculty of Technology, believes that the crisis will hit Serbia drastically and that the economic decline will be tantamount to that from 1999.

He adds that the proposal to increase healthcare workers’ salaries is an irrational measure, adding that it would be better to reward them with a bonus for the extraordinary effort they invested in this period. In the post-coronavirus period, it will take at least six months before the psychological state of consumers returns to its previous level, the expert says.

Djukic thinks that the crisis will hit Serbia severely, much harder than in 2009, following a survey he conducted among workers and employers from micro-enterprises to small businesses.”We will probably witness a collapse similar to that in 1999,” he adds.

He also thinks that the world will also experience a recession, but a slightly lesser than in Serbia.

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“People must be informed of the truth and warned that they cannot continue spending money left and right. Our GDP will also decline, ” Professor Djukic warns.

Many things could be done according to the help small and micro-enterprises including an exemption from paying taxes, ensuring transport for employees to and from work, and giving them proper protective equipment (masks and gloves).

“Banks have been sending e-mails to their clients who have loans saying that they are relieved from paying back their loans for the next three months, but what they don’t tell you is that they will still be charging interest rates and add them to the loan instalments. They are still profiting,” professor Djukic adds.

“All the business owners I have spoken to have said that they can survive for up to five months in the current circumstances. And they all tell me: we haven’t fired anyone, we pay payroll contributions and taxes, but we are afraid of measures, namely of a selective approach to companies based on friendships company owners have with government structures which means that some companies could be given a lot while others could be given nothing,” he warns.

(N1, 26.03.2020)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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