Serbia 43rd in doing business, PM Brnabic says digitalization is key

According to the 15th anniversary edition of the World Bank Group’s annual Doing Business report. Serbia ranks at 43 on the ease of doing business.

The results have been presented today at the conference “Doing Business 2018: Strengthening the Competitiveness of Serbia” at the presence of prime minister Ana Brnabic, the deputy minister and minister of Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic and, among the others, the World Bank country manager for Serbia Stephen Ndegwa, Thomas Lubeck, IFC Regional Manager for Central and Southeastern Europe and the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Henk Van Den Dool. 

The prime minister Brnabic has pointed out the constant improvement in the ranking but also she express the hope to enter soon in the first 30 positions. For Ms. Brnabic the “electronic administration” is the solution to solve the three main problems affecting the public administration of Serbia: efficiency,  transparency and corruption. The digitization of the country is the essential tool to reach these goals as well as to reduce the bureaucratic burdens still slowing the business in Serbia. The government intends to completely delete the usage of stamps in all the business documents as well as to push towards the electronic invoicing so that in the future there will be no need to print and stamp all the invoices and to send them by post. 

In the near future it will possible to establish a Serbian company via a web portal and for whose not sure with the digital will be open many one-stop-shop desks where to open a company in 15 minutes without filling any paper form. 

This year\s ranking is an improvement compared to the 47th place in last year’s report.

“If we look at Serbia and compare it with the perfect business environment, Serbia’s score went from 72.87 in Doing Business 2017 to 73.13 in Doing Business 2018,” said Stephen Ndegwa, World Bank Manager for Serbia. “This means that in the last year Serbia improved its business regulations as captured by the Doing Business indicators in absolute terms—the country is narrowing the gap with countries that have the best business environment.”

More specifically, Doing Business finds that Serbia implemented substantive changes in the local regulatory framework in the following areas in 2016/17:

  • Serbia made starting a business easier by reducing the signature certification fee and increasing the efficiency of the registry, reducing the time for business registration. As a result, the cost to start a new business has dropped from 6.5 percent to 2.3 percent of the income per capita. 
  • Serbia improved the reliability of its land administration system by implementing a geographic information system.
  • Serbia made enforcing contracts easier by adopting a new enforcement law that broadens and clarifies the responsibilities of enforcement agents as well as the powers of the courts during the enforcement process.

It’s important to note that Serbia is ranked 10th when it comes to dealing with construction permits in this year’s report

“Over the past 15 years, Serbia has made significant progress in several Doing Business areas and implemented a total of 28 reforms, mainly in the area of Registering Property (with 6 reforms), Starting a Business and Resolving Insolvency (5 each). The number of reforms in Serbia over the past 15 years compare well with the global per-country average of 17 and ECA average of 28,” said Thomas Lubeck, IFC Regional Manager for Central and Southeast Europe.

“As a result, starting a new business in Serbia now takes only 5.5 days compared to 56 days 15 years ago, which is 3 days less than the average across OECD high-income economies. The time to resolve a commercial dispute through a local first-instance court in Serbia has also been significantly reduced over the past 15 years. It now takes 635 days compared to 1028 days in 2003.”

However, Serbia underperforms in the area of Getting Electricity. It takes 125 days to connect to the electricity grid, much more than the average of 79 days across OECD high-income economies.

(World Bank, 31.10.2017)


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