As part of regulatory reform of the Republic of Serbia focused at improving the business climate and reducing administrative burdens for businesses, a multi-year project “e-Paper” was launched with the aim of listing, optimizing, making available to public and digitalizing all administrative procedures and other conditions for conducting business. The ultimate goal is to optimize and complete all administrative procedures from “the office”.
Serbia Investment Climate Project implemented by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, in partnership with the Government of the Republic of Serbia and with support provided by the British Embassy in Belgrade gave important contribution to the realization of this project.
As the Project’s result, in the first six months of next year, businesses and citizens of Serbia will have benefit from reduced documentation, shorter deadlines for issuance of licenses, decisions and approvals, and from reduced taxes and fees in as many as 680 administrative procedures they face on daily basis in their businesses – it was announced at the 4th International cooperation forum organized by the Development Agency Serbia, the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, and the Republic Agency for the Development of Small and Medium Enterprises.
Announced reduction of administrative burden is in its most important phase, analysis of recommendations for simplifying administrative procedures in 20 relevant institutions and ministries. Recommendations came as a result of detailed analysis of all 680 procedures in different areas and industries, but also from discussions with more than 200 small and medium enterprises and a number of sectoral associations in 15 towns in Serbia, as well as from exceptional cooperation with the Public Policy Secretariat of the Republic of Serbia – stated Eugeniu Osmocheschu, Manager of the IFC Serbia Climate Investment Project.
“Project “e-PAPER” is the Government’s reform project on which public administration has been devotedly working with coordination by the Public Policy Secretariat. What we want to achieve with e-Paper project is reduction of administrative burden on businesses through analysis, optimization and digitalization of administrative procedures. We will achieve this systematically by including all existing procedures, both on republic and province level, in public administration system. Our ultimate goal by the end of the project is to enable each of us, your colleagues, and businesses as a whole, to fulfill our administrative obligations online, from our offices. Results and success of this reform, to a large extent depend on businesses, their readiness to be an equal partner to the public administration in this project. We will already see the first results in withdrawal of M4 and MUN forms from use next year, which will bring estimated savings to the businesses in the amount of approximately 3 billion dinars.” – emphasized at the session Bojana Tosic, Director of the Public Policy Secretariat.
“Improvement of business climate is an important priority of the Ministry of Economy, and that is why we are very actively involved in the Government’s project e-Paper which should significantly ease administrative aspect of business to all entrepreneurs, both big and small. It is important to emphasize that this is a system project, which is not only aimed at solving the most critical problems in certain areas, but all administrative procedures in which businesses communicate with public sector, whenever they need a license, approval, certificate or they are legally obliged to report taxes, employees, pay custom fees etc. It is a huge task to optimize more than 2000 such procedures which are under jurisdiction of various institutions, and this is why it is very important to have technical support, among others from IFC which has a lot of international experience in this area.” – stated Katarina Obradović Jovanović Assistant Minister at the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Serbia.
Mihailo Vesović, Advisor to the President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, talked about importance of optimization of administrative procedures from the perspective of the businesses: “It is very important that the businesses are familiar with all activities of the State Administration, and that every message which affects improvement of business climate is communicated to them, which is in this case through optimization of administrative procedures. For this reason, Serbian Chamber of Commerce supported IFC Project, and this is why it’s important that we communicated this message to our members in the previous period, but also included them in the survey about administrative procedures, asking for their input about how complicated and time consuming these procedures are. Administration that doesn’t serve the businesses and citizens is administration per se. This is why efforts put in improvement of administration should be embraced, but also all activities directed towards creating predictable business environment. This is very important from the aspect of domestic business competitiveness and attracting new investments.”
Objective of this three year Serbia Investment Climate Project is to reduce administrative burden imposed to businesses by simplifying as many as 1,750 administrative procedures – licenses, permits, approvals and other documents, enabling electronic issuance of 100 licenses and removing unfair competition practices.