Business

12 Aug 2020, 18:34 PM
August 12, 2020 - The Government of Montenegro, at the proposal of the Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs, has adopted the Strategy for the Development of the Maritime Economy 2020-2030, together with the Action Plan 2020-2021. 
 
Until now, no sectoral strategic document has been drafted to recognize and adequately valorize the development potential of this economic sector.
The Strategy's goal is to recognize and precisely define development directions for Montenegro's maritime economy sector.
 
The drafting of this document, as emphasized by the Government, seeks to strengthen the maritime economy sector's role in the development and competitiveness of Montenegro through a clearly defined naval policy and sustainable development initiatives.
 

Blue economy

During the Development of the Maritime Economy Development Strategy, viewed through the prism of the "blue economy," not only are the primary segments of the maritime economy such as shipping and marine transport services, shipbuilding, port infrastructure, port services, and human resources promoted, but also all other related activities.
 
The blue economy encompasses all economic activities related to the sea or coastal areas. It includes sectors such as fisheries, nautical tourism, hydrocarbon exploration, and production, as well as emerging industries, such as marine biotechnology.
 
-The blue economy implies the use of marine resources to develop economic activities in a way that is acceptable for the environment, i.e., the marine ecosystem. Special attention is paid to activities aimed at strengthening administrative capacities and creating preconditions to deliver on the pre-defined strategic goals, as well as timely adoption of appropriate corrective measures - the Government explains.
 

Action plan

 
The drafting of an Action Plan is also envisaged, which will encompass activities for the further improvement and updating of the Maritime Information System, i.e. the electronic databases on seafarers, maritime documents issued, and authorizations on training and sailing experience. Also possible is the revision of the criteria and methods of monitoring educational institutions dealing with seafarers' education, as well as training centers for seafarers; harmonization of competencies between the competent Ministries regarding the education, training, social and health care of seafarers. Alongside these, the plan will also include the development of employment programs for maritime trainees on domestic and foreign ships, and the inclusion of seafarers in the national system of social and health care, following the example of other naval countries.
 
The Strategy was adopted after a public debate in which business entities, professional associations, non-governmental stakeholders, educational institutions, and individuals participated. This ensured that the process was of the highest quality, and based on cooperation between the lead of the strategic document, and interested public entities and individuals, reads the Ministry's statement on the document adopted on July 31.
 
 
11 Aug 2020, 18:43 PM
August 11, 2020 - The Executive Director of Luštica Development Tivat, Darren Gibson, announced that he would not extend his mandate after it expires on October 3 this year.
 
He informed the company and associates that he would end his role as the company's Executive Director after the expiry of the current mandate on October 3, stating that 2020 was especially challenging both professionally and personally.
 
"After careful consideration and discussion with my family, I have decided to step down and not extend my term once again. I believe now is the right time to bring fresh energy to the organization to take the Lustica Bay project to the next stages of development. It continues the transition into a fully operational destination. It was undoubtedly the greatest privilege of my professional career - to lead the Lustica Bay project for the last six years; to watch it grow from a newborn to an emerging gem as it is today. I will be eternally grateful to Orascom for giving me this opportunity. I hope that in a small way, I have contributed to creating the foundation for one of the most desirable European destinations in the coming years. I was also honored to work with such a dedicated and passionate group of professionals who are, without a doubt, the main reason that Luštica Bay has established itself as a leading destination in Montenegro in recent years," said Gibson.
 
In a company statement, an Orascom spokesman said: "We highly appreciate the very demanding work that Darren has done at the company in the last six years. He played an integral role in the growth of Lustica Bay. We sincerely thank him for his contribution and leadership during his tenure as CEO of Luštica Bay. We wish him the best of luck in all future endeavors. "
 
In the six years under his leadership, the first phase of project development was implemented. Marina settlement was built with more than 260 residential properties sold and more than 300 completed, alongside a marina with 176 berths, a shopping area, and the first hotel in the complex - The Chedi, which has become synonymous with a luxurious Mediterranean getaway. More than 243 million euros have been invested in the project, of which about 200 during Gibson's tenure.
 
The official opening in August 2018 was rated as the best regional event with more than 1,600 guests, including journalists from 30 global and 20 national outlets and media from the region.
 
Gibson will be temporarily succeeded by Maher Maksoud, who is currently leading the UK-based Orascom Eco-Bos project and whose regional office has overseen the Lustica Bay project since January 2020.
03 Aug 2020, 09:27 AM
August 3, 2020 - The first exploratory drilling, which should show whether there is oil in the Montenegrin submarine area, planned for the summer of this year, has been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Hydrocarbons Administration announced.
 
According to current management estimates, this work is expected to start in the first quarter of next year, i.e., from January to the end of March, Vijesti writes.
 
Montenegro has concluded two concession agreements for oil and gas exploration and production, one with the Eni and Novatek consortium in 2016, and the other with the Greek company Energean a year later.
 
"The coronavirus pandemic has caused a decline in business activity in almost all industries globally, including the oil and gas industry. The first exploratory drilling in the Montenegrin submarine, planned for the summer of this year, has been postponed for the same reasons," stated the Administration.
 
They said that, although in changed circumstances, many activities in Montenegro related to oil and gas exploration are continuing unhindered. Preparatory work is underway for the first exploratory drilling, which, according to current estimates, will begin in the first quarter of next year.
 
"The logistics base is in the port of Bar, where the material is already being delivered that will be used for exploratory drilling," said the Hydrocarbons Administration.
 
Bearing in mind that the first exploratory drilling in the Montenegrin submarine was initially planned for the summer of this year, all activities related to 3D seismic testing have already been completed, the Hydrocarbons Administration has announced.
 
According to the drilling program, the Administration said that the first exploratory drilling in the Montenegrin submarine would last about 180 working days.
 
"If the activities are carried out according to plan, by the end of next year we will have information on whether there are commercial oil and gas deposits on the subject blocks in the Montenegrin submarine," the Hydrocarbons Administration concluded.
25 Jul 2020, 17:15 PM

July 25, 2020 - The purchase of apartments in a condo hotel or a hotel that is on a mixed business model, listed among development projects, is counted as an investment for which a Montenegrin passport can be obtained based on the Government's program of economic citizenship.

The information was confirmed to "Vijesti" by the Montenegrin Investment Promotion Agency (MIPA), which submitted information that the list of development projects in the field of tourism currently includes seven hotels given the green light for construction by the Government. Of these, four are based on the condo business principle, and three on the mixed business model.

According to the condo principle, four hotels will be built in Kolašin, namely "Kolašin Resort & Spa," "Breza," "Bjelasica 1450 Kolašin," and "K16." According to the mixed business model, "Boka Place" will be built in Tivat, "Kraljičina Plaža" in Miločer and "Durmitor Hotel and Villas" in Žabljak.

"Montenegrin citizenship can be acquired by investing in a development project in tourism, which includes the construction of a hotel / mixed complex, and thus the creation of a hotel according to the condo business model.

The applicant for citizenship individually decides on which of the tourism developments projects he will invest in," MIPA stated in an official communication.

According to the Tourism Act, the difference between a condo and a mixed hotel is that apartment owners in a condo-hotel must make them available to the hotel for ten months a year. In the combined business model, renting is voluntary.

The company "Adriatic Marinas" from Tivat has already offered real estate from the tourist complex "Boka Place," a new part of the luxury nautical-tourist resort Porto Montenegro. However, construction will begin only at the end of the year, as reported by world media.

According to the Government's decision, a Montenegrin passport can be obtained through investments in tourism projects, processing industry, and agriculture. So far, no plan has been reported for investment in the processing and agricultural sectors.

The three-year program for acquiring Montenegrin citizenship through investments started on January 1, 2019, and up to 2,000 passports can be awarded.

The MIPA explained that, according to the decision on acquiring economic citizenship (Article 11), the development project in tourism implies the construction of a hotel/mixed complex in the coastal region and Podgorica with a minimum of five stars, at least 60 accommodation units, a minimum investment of 15 million euros and minimum 80 new employees.

"For the northern and central region (except Podgorica) with a minimum of four stars, at least 35 accommodation units, a minimum investment of 5 million and a minimum of 25 new employees," the MIPA recalled.

The applicant can acquire citizenship if he has deposited 100,000 euros in an escrow account for the development of less developed municipalities, for the Law on Regional Development.

He may also acquire citizenship if he has paid at least EUR 450,000 into the account to invest in one of the development projects in Podgorica or the coastal region, or the amount of at least EUR 250,000 to invest in one of the development projects in the northern or central area of Montenegro.

A foreigner can apply for Montenegrin citizenship provided that they do not have a criminal conviction in Montenegro or any other country, and after an international eligibility assessment agent has given a positive opinion, including providing proof of origin of money intended for payment and investment following a Government decision.

The state has earned three million euros from the sale of passports within the economic citizenship project. In the budget, 15 million from the sale of passports were projected this year, and that budget item is zero after the rebalance.

Agency refuses to mention any names 

The Agency could not say which investment the first passport was awarded within the project of economic citizenship.

"Issuance of the decision for admission and issuance of the passport upon admission to citizenship is the responsibility of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Montenegro," the MIA replied.

As part of the economic citizenship project, the Ministry of the Interior issued 12 passports to foreign citizens, but their names remain undisclosed. In response to the question by "Vijesti" as to who had received citizenship, the department referred to the Law on Citizenship, which specifies to whom the Ministry of the Interior can provide information.

A Russian citizen obtained the first passport, officially confirmed by Henley & Partners, one of the three licensed agents for mediation in this project.

Deputy Prime Minister Milutin Simovic told parliament on Wednesday that he could not give names, citing the Law on Personal Data Protection. This was an assurance that had been given when the project was presented.

"These are families who have private business with proven credibility, proven origin of their investment money, and confirmation that they are not involved in activities related to terrorism," claims Simović.

Text by Marija Mirjačić

15 Jun 2020, 21:26 PM

June 15, 2020 - State guarantees of up to at least 70% of the amount of the loan for legal entities which were forbidden to work in accordance with temporary measures for the suppression of coronavirus or which had their volume of activities significantly reduced, extension of moratorium, delay of the repayment of the due tax duties- are just some of the measures proposed by the Montenegrin Employers’ Union, as part of the third Government’s package of measures.

In order to help Montenegrin recovery to recover, Employers’ Union of Montenegro has prepared Innovated (third) proposal for measures to support economy.

What measures have been proposed?

ECB, IMF and EIB have officially announced increase in the funds aimed at helping WB countries, creating conditions for more favorable credit funds.

“In accordance with that, it is necessary to provide state guarantees of up to at least 70% of the amount of loan for legal entities which were forbidden to work in accordance with temporary measures for the suppression of coronavirus or which had their volume of activities significantly reduced, which would create conditions for the IMF and commercial banks to provide more favorable credit lines”, Union said.

They think that Government and Central Bank guarantees should be earmarked proportionally to the market share of every individual bank in Montenegro, provided that guarantees do not amount to more than 40% of the overall placement of the bank.

Montenegrin employers hold that it is necessary to carry out analysis of the situation and possible scenarios with the aim of earmarking support funds proportionally.

In addition, Investment and Development Fund and commercial banks should enable extension of moratorium on the repayment of loans for legal entities until their business operations are back to normality.

Tax

Montenegrin employers state that it is necessary to extend deadlines for the repayment of due tax liabilities on the grounds of all types of taxes with the possibility of repayment in 24 installments.

“Legal entities should be exempt from paying local public utility taxes, fees for use of the road as access to commercial facilities for 2020, paying real estate tax…”, employers say.

They add it is necessary to revise prices of public utility services depending on whether they worked during the epidemic or not.

They point out it is necessary to exempt legal entities from tourism and hospitality sector from paying fees for the use of temporary facilities in the coastal zone and national parks.

Montenegrin employers stress it is necessary to enable deferred payment of customs and VAT for 90 days and in cycles until economic and money flaws become smooth again.

Labor market and sustainability of jobs

Employers say that it is necessary to adopt special law to regulate work and legal relations in emergency circumstances, or introduce urgent amendments to the Law on Labor and harmonize its provisions with the emergency needs.

It is necessary to reconsider labor costs and reduce specific items related to the salary costs.

“Entrepreneurs and companies that were forbidden to perform their activities should be entitled to a subsidy in the amount of 100% of minimum net salary during six months and 50% of the minimum net salary for vulnerable sectors, as well as deferred payment of taxes and contributions for all those subjects”, Union says.

Long-term measures

Montenegrin employers request introduction of lower VAT rate – 7% on the accommodation services and accommodation services with services of food and non-carbonated and non-alcoholic beverage in hotels and facilities with similar purpose; increase of the generated turnover as prerequisite for mandatory VAT registration from €18.000 to €30.000.

“Entrepreneurs and micro companies would feel most benefit from this increase. The day they enter VAT system, their goods and services are by 21% more expensive, they enter a very demanding and uncertain race with major legal companies and most of them soon become illiquid”, employers say.

Grey economy

Employers call on all competent authorities to commit fully to taking measures and activities to combat grey economy.

“The scale of this negative trend is at alarmingly high level, and according to the official data, this phenomenon is on an upward trajectory”, they warn.

02 May 2020, 23:58 PM
May 2, 2020 - The Montenegrin economy is likely to be struck by the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic due to high dependency on tourism, said the head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development- EBRD office in Montenegro, Jap Spray, adding that recovery is expected next year.
 
Spray said tourism revenue would decline significantly this year because tourists from major markets may not be able to travel due to measures to contain or reduce their income.
 
He stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit a continuing slowdown in global growth as well as global trade growth and is expected to result in a significant decline in production, at least in the short term.
 
"The overall effect will depend on the length of the blockade measures and the structure of the economies themselves. A longer duration of isolation could result in a prolonged recession, while countries with a high share of tourism and other, mostly personal services, in GDP, may be more severely affected," Spray said.
 
According to Spray, cautious mitigation has begun in Montenegro, and rapid recovery is possible provided mass release is avoided while the blockage phase is underway.
 
"However, these estimates are driven by unprecedented uncertainty, and there may be significant long-term economic, political and social impacts," Spray said.
 
Asked how much money the EBRD could lend to Montenegro to help the country cope with the effects of the coronavirus epidemic, Spray replied that the institution had signed ten projects last year and invested nearly 40 million euros.
 
"Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we planned almost to double our business volume, bringing it to the level of EUR 75 million. We are now on track to make it more than triple last year's amount by investing over € 120 million in existing and new clients," said Spray.
 
"With the arrival of COVID-19, our clients needed short-term liquidity, and we began to prepare working capital programs for our clients in the private and public sectors with whom we work directly," Spray explained.
 
The EBRD, in addition to finance, provides advice to SMEs to help them recover from the economic downturn resulting from the pandemic, including refocusing ongoing projects on critical financial management and business continuity issues.
 
"We have several significant projects in the field of renewable energy, tourism, and real estate, which we hope will be successfully implemented in the coming year. We will continue to strengthen agricultural chains and the linkage between agriculture and the tourism sector," Spray said.
 
The EBRD recently approved an increase in funding to support the developing economies in which the bank operates, to EUR 21 billion this year and next.
 
The EBRD, according to Spray, is adapting and scaling up existing instruments and developing new financial and policy support initiatives to prevent the immediate coronavirus threat to the economy.
 
"Under certain conditions, we can now also provide liquidity to municipalities to help maintain basic public services. We provide assistance to all sectors of the economy, especially those severely affected by the crisis with a focus on SMEs. The sectors include financial institutions, tourism, hospitality, manufacturing, and agribusiness," concluded Spray.
09 Jan 2020, 09:57 AM

In 2019, Tivat Airport achieved a new absolute record in the physical volume of traffic, as nearly 1.37 million passengers passed through the two terminals of the airport.

Last year, Tivat Airport had 1,367,282 passengers, which is a 9.7% increase compared to 2018 when there were a total of 1,245,999 passengers.

During 2019, 7,049 aircraft landed on the Tivat airport runway, which is 234 aircraft, or 3.4% more than in 2018.

sa-aerodroma-Tivat-2_resize.jpg

Airport Tivat photo S.L

Last year, apart from the opening of the newly built temporary facility of Terminal 2, was marked by an additional increase in the number of lines that carriers enter from the Tivat airport during the summer season, so this airport was connected with about 50 destinations in Europe and the Middle East this summer.

Among the new carriers that have established traffic with Tivat, the most significant is the German national airline Lufthansa, which first appeared on the Montenegrin market, operating from this coastal city during the summer to Frankfurt and Munich.

The announcements of air carriers for this year signal an additional increase in the volume of physical traffic in Tivat airport as new companies wanting to fly to Tivat are announced to the management of the Airports of Montenegro, and the introduction of routes from that airport to some new destinations like Milan in northern Italy has been confirmed.

Text by S.L., on January 8th 2020, read more at Boka News

21 Dec 2019, 19:16 PM

December 21, 2019 - The Gross domestic product (GDP) amounted to €1.63 million in the 3rd quarter of the year, according to preliminary data of MONSTAT. Head of this state body, Ms Gordana Radojević, noted that the GDP real growth rate amounted to 4.7 per cent in the 3rd quarter of 2019.

 

“In the absolute value, we have achieved an added value by more than €100 million compared to the same quarter last year. Positive movements in GDP in the third quarter are the result of increased production in almost all economic sectors,” Ms Radojevic told the press.

She added that the highest growth in the 3rd quarter was recorded in the construction sector.

 

“We’ve recorded a 31.4% growth by measuring the value of completed construction works.”

Enormous contribution to the GDP growth in the 3rd quarter has come from tourism, Ms Radojević concluded.

Text by CDM read more here

To read more about business in Montenegro, follow TMN's dedicated page.

18 Dec 2019, 07:35 AM

December 18, 2019 - Kotor mayor, Mr Željko Aprcović, director of the Direction for Organization and Construction of Kotor, Mr Zoran Mrdak, and executive director of the company Bigova Bay, Ms Branka Lazarević, met in Kotor to sign the agreement on the implementation of an investment – the construction of a high-end tourism complex in Bigova.

 

The agreement announces the beginning of the implementation of an investment whose initiation started 7 years ago.

“The local self-government is proud to have a renowned investor in this business who will invest large sums of money – over 300 million euro – and today is a big day for the Municipality of Kotor,” said the Mayor of Kotor.

The aim of this project is to obtain the new content that will raise the sites in Donji Grbalj to a higher level.

Mr Aprcović said: ”This investment will represent the initial impetus for future investors in this extremely attractive site.”

 

Kotor Municipal Assembly, at its session held on 18 Nov. 2019, passed the decision on resolving relations between the Municipality of Kotor and Bigova Bay and the agreement signed today represents an integral part of it.

Text by CDM, read more here.

To read more about business in Montenegro, follow TMN's dedicated page.

17 Dec 2019, 12:25 PM

Works began on the construction of a roundabout at the former Tivat Municipality building, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Dusko Markovic.

Due to the commencement of works, parts of Luka Tomanovic street and the Second Dalmatinska Brigade were closed to traffic, and the usual mode of movement of the vehicles through the center of Tivat was changed.

However, the citizens of Tivat have not been officially informed about this by the Municipality, which is the investor of the EUR 300,000 project, which allows for an entrance to the city center.

Text by S.Lukovic, on December 16th, 2019, read more at Boka News

12 Dec 2019, 10:06 AM

The Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism (MORT) has issued the urban-technical conditions for the preparation of technical documentation relating to new facilities within the Kotor Port and the future Port Risan, whose construction is reportedly in line with state site studies (DSL) and the Special Purpose Spatial Plan (PPPN) for the coastal area of Montenegro.

According to the PPPN for the coastal area, within the concept of traffic development as ports of local importance are proclaimed ports in Budva, Risan and Zelenika, Porto Montenegro and Kalimanj in Tivat, the Nautical and Tourist Center Kotor, and the city port of Skver in Herceg Novi, and the proposed shipyard port in Bonici.

The ports of Bar, Kotor and Zelenika are classified as commercial, while the marinas are located in Bar, Budva, Risan, Porto Montenegro, Kalimanj, Skver and NTC Kotor.

Text by Dragan Popadic, on December 12th, 2019, read more at Radio Tivat

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