The Foreign Investors Council presented the White Book 2019 to the highest Government officials and stakeholder community. The White Book, written by FIC members, is the major product by which, for more than a decade, FIC gives recommendations aimed at supporting economic growth and better living standard of Serbian citizens.
The event was opened with introductory address by FIC President Yana Mikhailova, followed by insight into FIC Index 2019 by White Book Editor-in-Chief Miroljub Labus, as well as addresses by Head of EU Delegation in Serbia Sem Fabrizi and Prime Minister Ana Brnabić.
In her introductory speech FIC President Yana Mikhailova noted that “in-between two White Books Serbia continues steady but moderate progress in reforms. On the positive note, this year we have 41% progress in partial implementation of White Book recommendations from 2018, which is higher than the average of 30-40% from 2011, when the White Book score card was first introduced. This year we achieved 7% better progress compared to last year and we welcome this achievement and hope that this positive trend will continue in months to come. Therefore we strongly recommend further acceleration of reforms with joint goal to come as close as possible to 50% in implementation of the White Book recommendations next year. 3 key FIC expectations from the Government are to continue and accelerate membership negotiations with EU as means to improve both business regulation and their implementation, work on sustainable fiscal consolidation (structural reforms, especially privatization and corporatization of state-owned enterprises) and improve law implementation, especially in tax area (strengthening tax administration) with focus on reforms in 9 priority topics: tax, labour, digitalization& e-commerce, real-estate, inspections, food safety, pharmaceuticals and overall legal framework, with emphasis on regulations on bankruptcy and foreign exchange operations”, concluded Mikhailova.
According to “FIC Index”, which was published in the newest edition of the White Book, in the period between November 2018 and October 2019, 2 top performers remain the same as last year: tobacco and transport while this year we have 2 new: oil and gas and notary. However, there is still room for improvement in areas which FIC sees as priorities. Out of 9 priority topics of the FIC-Government White Book Task Force, digitalization, anti-illicit trade, bankruptcy and pharmaceuticals mark moderate progress, real-estate and tax mark some progress, while labour, forex and food safety lack progress.
In the active panel discussion on ways to improve the business environment in Serbia, opinions were exchanged between: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlović, Head of EU Delegation in Serbia Sem Fabrizi, Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy Zoran Đorđević, as well as FIC President and Market Head – Nestlé South East Market Yana Mikhailova.
This year, FIC continued with publishing of “The White Book Essentials” – brochure which presents main conclusions of this year’s publication, and in order to fully embrace the era of digitalization, but also to be environment-friendly, FIC again opted against printing the White Book publication which is available for free download on the FIC website (www.fic.org.rs).