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AmCham Organizes Two-Party Debate on Economic Policy

Advocacy Events

25.04.2012. | Belgrade

The Democratic Party (DS) and the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) presented their plans for improving fiscal policy, structural reforms and the business climate to AmCham members.

On April 24, at an Economic Policy Debate organized by AmCham, the Democratic Party (DS) and the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) presented their plans for improving fiscal policy, structural reforms and the business climate to an AmCham audience at the Hyatt Regency Belgrade.

Milan Ćulibrk, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of NIN magazine, moderated the discussion between DS and SNS economic teams. DS’s team was led by Božidar Đelić and supported by Slobodan Kocić, and SNS’s team was led by Jorgovanka Tabaković and supported by Milenko Dželetović, Milan Knežević and Bojan Terzić.
Click here for the photo gallery from the event.

The participants were given an opportunity to address particular economic and regulatory issues of vital importance to AmCham member companies and Serbian business in general, including achieving balanced state budget, earmarked revenues policy, real estate issues, labor law amendments and reform of the public procurement system.

Both parties identified several key economic priorities for the new Government. For DS it was jobs, support to SMEs, strengthening of industry and agriculture; SNS emphasized the manufacturing sector, exports, the fight against corruption and protection of competition. They agreed that reform of the tax administration is necessary as well as better tax collection on the revenue side of the budget. When asked whether their party will advocate for a VAT (value added tax) increase, an SNS representative replied that such a measure will be used only as a last resort after reform of the revenue and expenditure side, as well as by VAT Law amendments. DS agreed that such a measure should be used as ultima ratio action, but accompanies with a lower tax burden on wages. On the other hand, the two parties disagreed regarding additional taxation of the financial sector: DS argued against in lieu of the Hungarian scenario, while SNS pointed out that it will consider increasing tax burden on financial sector in order to balance it with the real sector burden.

Representatives of both DS and SNS pointed out that it is necessary to renew the arrangement with the IMF, as well as to fulfill two particular requirements the IMF imposed: the extension of the fixed-term labor agreements to up to 36 months as well as limiting severance payments by providing compensation only for years spent with the latest employer.

Earmarked revenues proliferation and system was recognized as an area for improvement and reform by both parties. With respect to accelerating the procedures for obtaining construction permits, DS emphasized that this depends on the reform of the system, but that improvements can beexpected by autumn, while SNS stressed that they had a project for speeding up the process and were ready to implement it.For more info on the AmCham debate, please visit AmCham’s twitter page, which is available here, or follow directly this link: #amcham_debate.