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DATE PUBLISHED: 11 May 2016 print| Recommend to a friend



On Monday, 9 May, the IV Regional Congress on Business Friendly Environment: Reaching New Heights was held in Podgorica, where Montenegro joined the program of Business Friendly Certification in South East Europe (BFC SEE) and 15 local governments from the region received the Business Friendly Certificate.

The conference, which was attended by more than 130 guests, was opened by Bojana Bošković, General Director of the Directorate for Financial System and Improvement of Business Environment in the Ministry of Finance of Montenegro. In her opening address she stressed that efficient local administration is crucial for the development of a business friendly environment, which primarily means simplification of administrative procedures. To achieve success in this work, it is important to introduce modernized services and develop partnership with businesses, in order to reduce the costs of doing business, said Bošković.

The Minister of Local Self-Government of Macedonia Širet Elezi presented the balanced development policy of this country. The key priorities of Macedonia include good governance and the development of institutional framework, knowledge-based growth, fostering inclusive growth and encouraging sustainable development through local development.

The Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government of the Republic of Srpska Lejla Rešić stressed that the interest among cities and municipalities in BiH for the certification process is constantly growing. So far, the regional Business Friendly Certificates have been awarded to Prijedor, Sanski Most and Banja Luka, but now more than ten local governments are also included, and the interest does not cease to grow even though going through the certification process is not a simple task.

On behalf of Serbia, the conference participants were addressed by the State Secretary in the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Željko Ožegović, who reminded that the certification program was initiated in 2007 and that the then national certificate was obtained by 31 local governments, which attracted investments worth more than two billion euros, and are included among the most successful cities and municipalities in Serbia.

- A recent research NALED conducted in Vojvodina showed that the certified municipalities from this region attracted an average of six investments, whereas their competitors attracted three times less, which speaks enough about the quality of the program the local administration goes through – said Ožegović.

He stressed that the Government of Serbia supports the regional initiatives resulting in the development of conditions for sustainable growth and improvement of living standard for the citizens in countries of the region, which is achieved through exchange of experiences and knowledge. Therefore, the Government strongly supports the Business Friendly Certification program.

The President of the Regional BFC SEE Network and Professor of the Faculty of Economics in Rijeka Saša Drezgić said it is very important that more and more local governments are showing interest to join the certification program, stressing that less successful local governments should be motivated to enter the program, as the transformation they would undergo would mean the most for them. He praised the enthusiasm of all partners implementing the Business Friendly Certification in South East Europe, and particularly NALED.

The opening remarks were concluded by the Fund Manager of Open Regional Fund for Modernization of Municipal Services Christophe di Marco, who finds that the certified municipalities are part of the “champions’ league” in the region.  He stressed that GIZ Open Regional Fund will continue providing support to the Business Friendly Certification program in South East Europe, and expressed hope that following Montenegro, Albania ould also join the BFC SEE program.  

The opening part was followed by the ceremony of signing the Memorandum of Understanding on Montenegro’s accession to the Business Friendly Certification program in South East Europe. The document was signed by Bojana Bošković, General Director of the Directorate for Financial System and Improvement of Business Environment in the Ministry of Finance of Montenegro, President of the Regional Network for Business Friendly Environment in South East Europe Saša Drezgić and Manager of GIZ Open Regional Fund for Modernization of Municipal Services Christophe di Marco.

The signing ceremony was an introduction into the panel discussion “From standards of business friendly environment to economic growth and new investments”, where the leaders of Montenegrin local governments had the opportunity to talk with the representatives of certified municipalities about the most important aspects of certification process, potential challenges and possible solutions which would lead them to the Business Friendly Certificate.

On behalf of Montenegrin cities and municipalities, the panel participants were Aleksandar Bogdanović, Mayor of Cetinje and President of the Managing Board of the Union of Municipalities of Montenegro, Srđa Popović, Mayor of Budva, Branislav Đuranović, Mayor of Danilovgrad, Boris Mugoša, Deputy Mayor of Podgorica, Petar Smolović, Deputy Mayor of Bijelo Polje and Vasilije Jakšić, Deputy Mayor of Žabljak.

They had the opportunity to engage in discussion with Mićo Mićić, Mayor of Bijeljina and President of the Presidency of the Association of Local Authorities of the Republic of Srpska, Suad Huskić, Mayor of Tešanj, Antonija Jozić, Mayor of Pleternica, Anastasija Olumčeva, Mayor of Bogdanci and Nemanja Pajić, President of City Assembly of Šabac, whereas businesses were represented by Vojislav Genić, Public Sector Manager for Central and East Europe in SAP West Balkans.

After the panel, the Ambassador of Germany to Montenegro Gudrun Elisabeth Steinaker and Mission Director of USAID Bosnia and Herzegovina Peter Duffy shared their views on regional cooperation and further support to the regional initiative such as Business Friendly Certification.

The IV Regional Congress was concluded with the ceremony of awarding Business Friendly Certificates to the representatives of 15 local governments which fulfilled the criteria for acquiring this prestigious recognition over the previous year. The certificates were presented to the following cities and municipalities: Skoplje, Štip, Gazi Baba, Bogdanci, Tešanj, Žepče, Goražde, Bosanska Krupa, Teslić, Mrkonjić Grad, Prijedor, Bijeljina, Jastrebarsko, Crikvenica and Šabac.

The Congress in Podgorica was preceded by the gala dinner on Sunday, 8 May, hosted by Bojana Bošković, Saša Drezgić and Vojislav Genić.

TV Report on IV Regional Congress on Business Friendly Environment you can watch here

Info Sheets of certified municipalities you can find here.

Press Clipping available here

Image gallery

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