This time around we have also asked the representatives of the authorities, diplomatic corps, international institutions, business associations, media and many others to express their views on the possible re-arrangement of power in the world, the European and regional political scene, the influences on Serbia’s accession to the EU, economic development, investments in culture, and as an inevitable question this year, elections which are taking place in many countries, including Serbia. We talked to VIOLETA JOVANOVIĆ, Executive Director of NALED

How important is it for companies gathered in business associations and chambers of commerce to work together to improve the business environment and what trends do you expect to see in 2020?

Associations represent the united voice of their membership and have the expertise and advocacy capacity to more effectively nominate key reforms to be included in the agenda of the authorities. As advocates of common interests, they are more effective than individual companies in dialogue with decision-makers. NALED’s research shows that about 50% of institutions consult business associations when drafting regulations under their jurisdiction. When you ask businesspeople if they will like to participate in public-private dialogue, 38% say ‘yes’, but only as part of a business association. Members of NALED come from the public, private and civil sectors and can influence public policies by proposing activities at NALED’s Annual General Meeting and vote for priorities that NALED will address. They can also join thematic working bodies – the so-called alliances. They are fair competition, eGovernment, food and agriculture, healthcare, property and urbanism and environmental protection. This is also a good opportunity to make proposals for NALED’s Gray Book, which gives institutions an overview of problematic procedures and solutions.

The year 2020 is an election year for most Western Balkan countries, including Serbia. How will this affect the development of the economy in the region?

Elections inevitably slow down the reform process, and often they also change the priorities in the new government due to changes in certain sectors. Major reforms will certainly be prolonged, but we need to work on them in order for them to be implemented as soon as possible. We set the NALED 2020 agenda very ambitiously, and this year, we plan to work on a system for developing eProstor spatial plans, resolving land conversion rights, developing eGovernance, eliminating para-fiscals, combating the shadow economy, and advocate for reducing the payroll tax. Plus, we are going to work on regulating new forms of work engagement and expanding the scope of the system for registration of seasonal workers to include other business activities.

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