Serbia’s economy has been recording continuous growth over the past several years, which could be even greater if reforms are accelerated.
The country can achieve an even higher growth provided that it modernizes its tax policy and labour rights and boosts trade cooperation in the region, the Foreign Investors Council (FIC) has said.
FIC Executive Director, Ana Tozzi told Tanjug that, during an FIC delegation’s visit to Brussels, they had a number of successful meetings with representatives of the European Commission, with the aim of ensuring that the Government of Serbia and the EU had a reliable partner with in order to support the European integration of Serbia.
During the talks, the FIC focused mainly on taxes and tax policy in Serbia, labour legislation and trade cooperation in the region.
Regarding taxes, Tozzi points out that tax policy should be predictable and that tax laws should be changed.
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“Boosting the competitiveness of the Serbian economy is important not only for the foreign and domestic investments but also for small businesses. It is also extremely important to work on the modernization of tax policy and Tax Administration, which is one of the projects that the new Minister of Finance, Sinisa Mali embarked on in cooperation with the World Bank,” Ana Tozzi added.
The FIC expects Serbia to also modernize labour and employment laws, and to introduce digitization.
“Digitization would reduce the administrative burden on businesses. Also, apart from the modernized and more flexible labour legislation, compliance with these laws and the enforcement of rights for companies and employees must be ensured,” said Tozzi.
The FIC has been also vocal about increasing regional trade and making regional markets stronger, which would be particularly important for Serbia, as the largest country in the CEFTA area.
According to her, Serbia would have a lot of benefits if that happened, because it would achieve bigger export of goods and services.
Tozzi underlines that FIC welcomes the progress that Serbia has made in the area of issuing building permits and transport segment.
The Executive Director of FIC adds that much depends on the improvement of the business climate because companies had to be inspired to invest, which, in turn, affects the economic results and contributes to the growth of the living standard.
She also notes that Serbia has been the leader in attracting foreign investments in the past year.
“We, as foreign investors which already operate in Serbia, welcome and actively work on bringing new investments here, because new foreign investments also stimulate the growth of the domestic economy. Domestic and foreign investors are no longer on opposing sides because networking between foreign and domestic companies can strengthen the market and ensure a better connection to the global market,” said Ana Tozzi.
The FIC also expects that the growth of investments in Serbia will continue, but says that this is closely linked to reform pace – faster the reforms, more investments will come.
FIC, she adds, wants to help Serbia’s EU accession as the Association gathers mainly foreign companies, which, in over 70 per cent of cases, come from the EU member states.
“Our goal is to help Serbia reach the level of European economies. In Brussels, we have underlined that Serbia has been recording continued growth and implementing reforms in the past few years, but we need to see many more reforms in order for the growth to continue,” Tozzi concluded.
This post is also available in: Italiano