“The situation is extremely difficult, and it will become even more difficult in the autumn, so we need a team of experts to consider the needs of businesses and the possibilities of the state to help and decide how and when we can help the economy,” said the director and editor-in-chief of Nova Ekonomija magazine, Biljana Stepanovic.
In an interview for the European Western Balkans (EWB) website, Stepanovic pointed out that Aleksandar Vucic has already spent more than 600 million euro, which he had previously borrowed at a very high-interest rate, and disbursed the infamous 100 euro to every Serbian citizen over the age of 18 with a sole purpose of winning electoral votes.
“That money could have been invested much more intelligently and rationally where necessary, thinking about the welfare of the state and not about its survival in power,” said Stepanović, saying that the budget is now in deficit, loan instalments have to be paid, the economy is collapsing, there will be no more foreign investments and domestic investments are already at a standstill due to overall situation.
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“We do not have capable and professional people at the top; people who know what should be done, what measures to implement and how to implement them,” Stepanović underlines.
As far as the government’s economic measures are concerned, she believes that from the beginning the state’s approach was wrong, starting with the disbursement 100 euro to every adult citizen.
“When it comes to payroll help, this measure was good for the first three months after the pandemic erupted, although about 30% of companies refused it because it prevented them from laying off employees or increasing dividends,” she says.
Stepanovic adds that it is quite evident which sectors are suffering the most (catering, tourism, transport), and which have grown during the pandemic (small retailers, online shops), so it is possible to plan help for the most vulnerable sectors, especially those whose survival is on the line.
“On the other hand, it seems easier to distribute indiscriminately to everyone again, albeit less because there is no more money for propaganda, which is the only thing the government is interested in and seriously concerned with; it is disguised as aid for businesses, but it is a waste of money that all of us will have to pay back one day,” Biljana Stepanovic concluded.
This post is also available in: Italiano