Wednesday, 17 May 2017

16th Sitting of the Committee on the Economy, Regional Development, Trade, Tourism and Energy

At the sitting held on 17 May 2017, the members of the Committee on the Economy, Regional Development, Trade, Tourism and Energy reviewed the Ministry of Economy Activity Information for the period October-December 2016, Ministry of Economy reports on the state-of-play of the privatization process October 2016 – March 2017, as well as Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications activity reports for the periods 1 October – 31 December 2016 and 1 January – 31 March 2017.

Presenting the reports Assistant Minister of Economy Dragan Ugrcic said that the number of 174 enterprises in the privatization process in the period October 2016 – March 2017 has now been reduced to 156. He said that bankruptcy proceedings have proven to be the most efficient privatization model so he expected amendments and modifications to the Law on Bankruptcy after the revision of the contract with the IMF in June.

Speaking of the privatization procedures in said period, State Secretary at the Ministry of Economy Milan Trivunac said that the focus was on the 7-8 enterprises which were the biggest fiscal risk – Smederevo Steel Works, RTB Bor, Galenika, PKB, Resavica mine etc. Trivunac stressed that the privatization of the Smederevo Steel Works is an excellent practice example and the Ministry would concentrate its future efforts on making in the preferred model for the rest of these enterprises.

Speaking of RTB Bor, Trivunac said that the ad for management professionalization had been extended, the accrued servicing dues had been settled, and the public call for digitalization is expected to soon follow. He said he expected that a strategic partner would be found through digitalization and that talks have been initiated with Chinese companies as potential partners. As regards Galenika, Trivunac said that he expected the privatization tender to be soon renewed, and that the privatization of PKB is planned to follow a model in which the future investors would be obliged to maintain production for a period of no less than 3 years.

Following a debate, the Committee members decided, by majority vote, to adopt the Ministry of Economy’s reports.

The Committee members then proceeded to review the reports submitted by the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications.

The Ministry representatives said that the periods in question were marked by intensive work on advancing cooperation in the fields of trade and tourism both with the countries in the region and beyond. They said that the cooperation as regards the control and trade in dual use goods within CEFTA has been bolstered, as well as export into countries in the region such as Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia.

Stevan Nikcevic, State Secretary at the Ministry, said that they had also worked on preparing Chapter 30 – External Relations, saying he hoped the chapter would be officially opened in the next quarter.

Speaking about trade, State Secretary Vesna Kovac said that the Ministry had adopted the Trade Development Strategy by 2020, completed the draft law on services, launched the initiative to set up a National Council for the development of trade, and set up a working group with the Serbian Chamber of Commerce to, among other things, boost trade between the Republic of Serbian and the Russian Federation.

Speaking about tourism, Assistant Minister Renata Pindzo said that the Republic of Serbia was elected co-chair of the UN World Tourism Organization Executive Council in November 2016, the Government had adopted the 2016-2025 Tourism Development Strategy and in February 2017 at the 39th Tourism Fair countries such as Russia and China were presented for the first time in the region. Pindzo spoke about the record public interest in Serbian holiday vouchers, saying that by 31 March 22,631 citizens and 683 service providers applied, a number which has by now grown to 40,240 and 715 respectively.

Following a discussion the Committee members adopted the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications activity reports by majority vote.

The Committee went on to accept the invitation to visit the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina in June 2017 and selected the following four-member delegation: Snezana Paunovic, Natasa Mihailovic Vacic, Gorica Gajic and Committee secretary Aleksandra Balac. The Committee members also accepted the initiative to organize a regional conference on renewable resources in the National Assembly in early June.

The sitting was chaired by Committee Chairperson Snezana B. Petrovic and attended by the following Committee members and deputy members: Dr Aleksandra Tomic, Studenka Kovacevic, Stanislava Janosevic, Tomislav Ljubenovic, Aleksandar Stevanovic, Zoran Bojanic, MA Ivan Kostic, Jelena Mijatovic, Natasa Mihailovic Vacic, Ivan Manojlovic, Vojislav Vujic, Snezana Paunovic, Gorica Gajic and Snezana R. Petrovic.

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