22 Oct 2019, 14:05 PM

Growth in production and increased product placement were realized during the tourist season, which is a result of better connectivity between hoteliers and domestic food producers, the Chamber of Agriculture and Food Industry (PKCG) board announced.

Committee secretary Lidija Rmus, who presented information on economic trends, said that the increase in production and increased product placement in the tourist season was partly the result of the realization of the projects Buy Domestic and Domestic Tastes.

"The tourist offer increasingly includes the traditional gastronomic offer of Montenegro when presenting our country," Rmus said.

During the first eight months of this year, the purchase and sale of agricultural, forestry and fishery products amounted to EUR 23.4 million, and is at the same level as last year. By August, 16.1 million liters of milk were purchased, 3.4 percent less, but the production of all milk products increased, which has a positive effect on the financial results of this sector.

According to Monstat, PKCG said food production increased 4.6 percent in eight months and 8.9 percent in beverages.

During the session, it was assessed that the biggest problem faced by the agrarian was the lack of competitiveness of the product. That is why the goal of food producers is to increase the volume of production and the competitiveness of products, which can enable better placement of domestic products, and the business barriers they face in business need to be removed.

Speaking about the investments in agriculture that were completed in the current year, Rmus said that the company “Nase voce” (Our Fruits) has established an apple plantation on 15 hectares in Zupa - Niksic, and plans to build a five-hectare cherry plantation and new apple plantations on an area of 15 ha, as well as the construction of a juice production facility.

"This production will have a significant impact on the substitution of apple imports," Rmus added.

The processing plant with a capacity of about 60 thousand hams (prosciutto) is being built in the company Zrnozit, the construction of a new slaughterhouse in Mesopromet, and a meat processing plant is in the final stage.

She stated that it is significant that the water factory Bjelasica Rada started production again, and in Savnik, within the company, Eko-per Diva, started a new bottling plant. A new 600-ton cold-storage in Plantaze has been put into operation.

In the first eight months, imports of agri-food products amounted to EUR 391 million, with exports amounting to EUR 28.2 million, so the export-import ratio was 7.2 percent. Imports grew by 6.4 percent from the same period last year, and exports are down six percent.

Committee Chairman Milutin Djuranovic said that the drop in the coverage of imports by exports is worrying, because it is not insignificant, so in the coming period, we must work on strengthening the competitiveness even more.

Board member Amela Visnjic from Visnjic Commerce pointed to the problem of extremely high imports of eggs sold as domestic, which creates problems for business people.

Boris Covic from Bonesa advocated greater investment in technology because it is an expensive product and stressed the need to reduce and even eliminate protectionism in all industries.

Nikola Milosevic from Eko-per Diva believes that they need to be more active in selling domestic water in shops and hotels.

"We have to fight for at least 50 percent of the water in the shops to be domestic, which would increase our production by 20 percent," Milosevic said.

He added that 70 percent of imported water is now being sold in stores, and only 30 percent is domestic.

In order to eliminate the constraints that entrepreneurs face in business, it is necessary to work on the amendment of several normative acts that regulate their business. These are laws on companies, labor, excise duties, value-added tax, debt collection, and fiscalisation.

At the session, it was assessed that the implementation of the national campaign for the purchase of domestic products should be continued with the aim of raising consumer awareness and creating an environment for better positioning of Montenegrin products, which will directly contribute to the reduction of imports.

Also, when designing the Agrobudget, through the subsidies, the dairy sector, which faces very strong competition from the region, should be preserved and the quality control of imported products strengthened.

The session announced that IPARD funds are intended to strengthen the capacity of the agricultural sector, make it competitive and comply with EU rules, standards and practices.

General Director of the Directorate for Rural Development, Darko Konjevic, said that during the past year, two public tenders had been issued from IPARD for investments in agricultural holdings and processing capacities, which are underway.

“Through the first IPARD to support farms, by the end of July, 221 contracts worth EUR 13.5 million were signed. Twenty contracts worth 11.9 million were signed in the processing. The realization of investments in processing capacities will open about 80 new and provide security of placements for about seven thousand subcontractors," Konjevic reminded.

At the beginning of September of the current year, a second public invitation from IPARD for investments in processing capacities was launched.

“There is now a new € 15.6 million grant available to domestic processors to support investments to improve production. The sectors of processing of milk, meat, fruits and vegetables, olives, fish and aquaculture, as well as wine production, will be supported," Konjevic added.

The public invitation is open until November 4th. Konjevic announced that this deadline would be extended due to the interest of the businessmen and that at the end of this year, a second public invitation for investment in agriculture would be issued.

Konjevic also announced that another invitation for processing would be issued in the coming year.

Text by MINA Business on October 21st, 2019, read more at Vijesti

22 Oct 2019, 14:02 PM

Cetinje is the recipient of the Globallocal Award, which is given to the best local communities to create a good environment for entrepreneurship development in Central and Southeastern Europe.

The capital of Cetinje has been informed that the award was presented to the Mayor Aleksander Kascelan at the World Entrepreneurs' Congress, which is being held in Skoplje for the second time.

Kascelan said it was a pleasure to be among the best, especially when prominent experts recognized efforts to develop the local community in the field of entrepreneurship development.

"The reward is coming at the right time. We expect the announcement of the advertisement for the lease of the real estate of the former Obod, an advertisement for tenants of the Business Center is in progress, we are contacted by numerous investors, and in the capital budget we have planned money for the purchase of land on which the famous Lokanda hotel was situated, whose redevelopment, in addition to new hotel and catering facilities, will generate new employment," said Kascelan.

In addition to the capital Cetinje, 14 cities from the region were awarded in this category.

The award was made by an independent International Committee on Globallocal Awards and Recognition, made up of 18 distinguished experts in economics, marketing, commerce, management, finance and entrepreneurship, from nine Central and Southeast European countries.

Text by MINA Business on October 18th, 2019, read more at Vijesti

19 Oct 2019, 13:00 PM

19 October 2019 - At its recent session, the Assembly Committee on Economy, Finances and Budget supported the Proposal for the Law on Amendments to the Law on Road Traffic. A representative of the Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs Dalibor Milošević said that this Proposal stipulated all the documentation drivers should have in their vehicle, including Tax Return proof.

"Until now, the driver was obliged to have only an employment contract. Now, drivers are obliged to have tax return in the vehicle, as a proof of regular payment of contributions," said Milošević.

Field analyses have shown that there is a great number of drivers with fictitious contracts, registered to work 10 or 15 hours a day.

"We are trying to protect a driver as an employee and create a clear picture of the exact number of drivers reported to work in a company. Some companies have 100 registered vehicles and only 50 registered employees," said Milošević.

Member of the Committee Raško Konjević asked why a taxi driver was obliged to have a tax return in his vehicle.

"Will a taxi driver be excluded from traffic in case he has not got his tax return in the car? What happens if I have to go to the airport but I can not because I am not allowed to be in traffic? The problem lies in the fact that we are the only capital in Europe with the catastrophic organization of road traffic," pointed out Konjević.

The session discussed debts of taxi drivers, amounting to over 3 million EUR, writes CdM.

"Taxi drivers owe more than 3 million EUR in taxes," said the president of the Committee Predrag Sekulić.

Member of the Committee Boris Mugoša pointed out that inspection supervision in road traffic should be enhanced.

"We only have three road traffic inspectors in Montenegro. That is alarming," concluded Mugoša,

Read more news about business in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

18 Oct 2019, 13:59 PM

The Municipality Tivat responded yesterday to the text, "The job was given to the most expensive contractor, construction is late".

“The construction of the roundabout in Kukuljina will start according to plan, that is, according to the Decision on the best offer, number: 1902-404-42 / 12 dated 02.10.2019, because there are no legal obstacles to act differently. Pursuant to the Law on Public Procurement and the Instructions to Tenderers, which is an integral part of the Tender Documents, the Tenderer's complaints are filed through the first-instance body, in this case, the Contracting Authority - Municipality, therefore the statement in the text that the company from Kotor filed a complaint for the tender No. 1902-404-42 dated 27.08.2019 is false. The appeal deadline expired on October 15.

The claims about the method of ranking and selection of the most favorable bidder are also not true, whose publication creates the wrong image of the work by the Public Procurement Commission of the Municipality.

We emphasize that the expert commission has thoroughly inspected the tender documentation, noted irregularities, and made a decision in accordance with the submitted offers and evidence, which are an integral part of the same, and all in accordance with the Law on Public Procurement and the Instructions to Bidders. We believe that the transmission of falsehoods is inappropriate to the media, and we ask that you publish full information as soon as possible to be truthful to the public,” states the response.

Text by Vijesti online, on October 18th, 2019, read more at Vijesti

18 Oct 2019, 13:52 PM

The construction of a part of the road from Cetinje to Cevo will cost about 34.5 million, which is 2.5 million euros less than was intended for this work.

Up to 37 million euros was allocated for the 23 kilometers of the section from Cetinje to Cevo.

That section is only part of the road that is to connect Cetinje and Niksic.

“The construction of this road will be of great importance for the inhabitants of this area, but it will give additional quality and impetus for the development of both Cetinje and Niksic. Improving the road and overall infrastructure is a priority of the Government as it is a key prerequisite for more dynamic development and, therefore, a better quality of life for citizens,” said the Prime Minister Dusko Markovic earlier.

The Traffic Administration has selected “Briv construction” from the four road construction companies that submitted the offers.

At this job, the company from Kotor will be assisted by "Profil ing" from Bar, "Mining-Mont" from Pljevlja, "Montinspekt" and "Geo mac group" from Podgorica.

According to the decision available on the Public Procurement Portal, the first subcontractor should participate in this business with less than 14 percent in the part of the works on the route and connecting roads, the second with a little more than seven percent with the mining plan and mining works, the third with 0.18 percent in the part related to public lighting works, and fourth with 0.22 percent in the job of geodetic survey.
The tender documentation stipulates that this section of the road should be completed in three years and that the warranty period is five years from the handover of works.

Out of the other three bids received, Podgorica's Bemax was ranked second, Niksic's “Mehanizacije i programata” was third-ranked, while the only inaccurate bid was, according to the decision, was Tivat's "Sampetrol".

The offer of the ranked Bemax was 36.8 million euro, or 2.4 million euro more expensive than “Briv”.

Tender documentation also required the type of funds and equipment needed for this job. The earthworks section required a lifting drill, excavator, bulldozer, grader, loader, soil compactor and vibrating plate, asphalt paver, asphalt roller, asphalt cutter and emulsion sprayer, and truck, auto mixer and auto crane.

The most favorable bidder is obliged to conclude a professional liability insurance contract for damage that may occur to the Management Board and/or third parties from the beginning of the execution until the handing over of the works and to submit a copy of the insurance policy to the contracting authority, before concluding the contract.

“The sum of insurance cannot be less than 2,000,000 euros; This insurance must cover the risk of liability for damage caused by individuals, damage to buildings and financial loss," the tender documents stipulate.

It is further stated that the Administration is obliged to ask the tenderer whose tender was selected as the most favorable one, and who refuses to conclude a public procurement contract, a compensation of the damage in the amount of 10 percent of the offered tender amount.

If the contractor does not, by its own fault, complete the works on this section within the agreed deadline, they shall pay the Management Board on behalf of the agreed penalty one per mile from the agreed price of all works for each day of exceeding the deadline, provided that it cannot exceed five percent of the agreed price of works.

Payments will be made through advance, interim monthly valuations and the final certificate.

Text by Milos Rudovic, on October 17th, 2019, read more at Vijesti

17 Oct 2019, 18:47 PM

17 October 2019 - Minister of Science Sanja Damjanović took part in the main panel discussion of the INNOVEIT conference in Budapest, which the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) organises every year and also gave its annual award for innovation in one of the categories.

EIT innovation model is designed to efficiently transform the European innovation environment in a way that solves market and system deficiencies by linking all the actors in the field of innovation, regardless of which disciplines and sectors they are related to, to work together. Through the next EU programme (Horizon Europe 2021 – 2027), this institute will have an increased budget and one of its focus will be the expansion of the regional impact, including the Western Balkans countries.

In a panel discussion about the education and the regional dimension as the basic pillars of the future of this unique institute, Minister Damjanović stated that the EIT is a powerful driver of innovation in Europe.

"Our young people, representatives of the business sector and start-ups participated in EIT schools, competitions and manifestations, which significantly affected their way of thinking and working," Minister Damjanović pointed out, hopeful that the European Commission's Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) will find a way to support the development of innovation centres of this institute in the Western Balkan countries. Referring to the long experience of researches and outstanding cooperation with CERN, Minister Damjanović highlighted that the EIT as a networked institute, that is, CERN as the infrastructure, are examples of how entrepreneurship and academic community can work together and spread the culture of innovation and business.

"It is exciting to see how advances in robotics, chemistry and food science, energy and ICT, data science and artificial intelligence, mechanical engineering contribute to the significant innovations the nominated innovators have developed in the EIT Venture Award category," Minister Damjanovic noted, writes Ministry, emphasising that she comes from a small country in the Western Balkans, which has just started implementing innovation policies and developing and linking its innovation ecosystem, and that Montenegro finds great inspiration in seeing how society functions and changes for the better. 

The EIT Venture award was given to the finalists whose team has been developing a unique technology that converts wave energy efficiently and sustainably. Minister Damjanović also congratulated the innovators in other categories and the EIT communities, who, by supporting such innovators, make Europe, a true innovation union.

Read more news about business in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

16 Oct 2019, 19:13 PM

16 October 2019 - A consortium of the German company WPD AG and the company Vjetroelektrana Budva (Budva Wind Power Plant) is the only bidder for the construction of the Wind Farm Brajići, reports Vijesti daily.

Tender documentation for the construction of wind farms on state-owned land in the municipalities of Budva and Bar was purchased by five companies, including a consortium that applied for the public call, which closed on Friday, two companies from Finland and one each from Belgium and China.

According to the data gathered by Vijesti daily, the German-Montenegrin consortium has offered an investment of 100 million EUR for the construction of wind a farm with the potential of producing 100.8 megawatts (MW). For the lease of 220.77 thousand square meters of state land, the company offered 2.5 EUR per square meter.

The tender required a minimum price of an annual lease of five cents per square meter. The government issues the state land for 30 years. Data on planned electricity production are expected. The offer also envisages the participation of domestic companies with 21.6 million EUR.

The Tender Commission has a deadline of 45 days, i.e., until the end of November, to verify whether the bidder meets all the requirements.

The representatives of the Montenegrin Ministry of Economy recently explained that this project would be implemented according to market principles, which means that there are no financial incentives for the state for the guaranteed purchase price.

German WPD AG has experience in the implementation of projects of this type in many countries, with a portfolio of installed capacity of 4.4 thousand MW.

WPD AG is a developer and operator of wind farms both onshore and offshore, acting worldwide. Since 1996, WPD has installed 2,200 wind turbines with a total of 4,450 MW. Currently, more than 1,500 MW are held as assets. Internationally, WPD is planning projects in the scope of 8,725 MW onshore and 7,250 MW offshore. For years, WPD has been awarded the first-class “A” rating by the Euler Hermes agency (Allianz Group).

16 Oct 2019, 13:08 PM

The Employment Bureau (ZZZ) announced the first public call for grants, worth a total of 1.2 million euros, to start new businesses.

The money will be awarded to more than 400 beneficiaries of self-employment grants, or more than 400 new businesses, over three one-year cycles. The grant will range from three thousand euros to 7.5 thousand euros.

The Minister of Labor and Social Welfare, Kemal Purišić, said that they would allocate a total of 3.5 million euros in the three years of the self-employment project.

"These funds were provided from the pre-accession funds of the European Union (EU) through the EU-Montenegro Program for Employment, Education, and Social Welfare. The program is a continuation of successful cooperation between the European Commission (EC) and the Government in the field of social policy, employment and education policies," Purišić said at a conference organized by the Institute in cooperation with the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare.

Purišić said in a statement that the government is committed to implementing measures and programs of active employment policies aimed at increasing employment and reducing unemployment.

"As a result, we have seen a significant decrease in the unemployment rate over the past few years. According to the data from the Labor Force Survey, it was reduced from 17.7 percent in 2016 to 15.2 percent last year, or 14.3 percent in the second quarter of this year," Purišić added.

The self-employment measures that will be implemented through this call, he said, will enable participants to acquire the necessary knowledge to apply for similar calls, acquire the skills to start and run their businesses, make livings for themselves and their family, and ultimately, contribute to the community through newly established businesses.

"Experience has shown that participants in preparatory self-employment measures have a greater opportunity for employment and the sustainability of that employment. The new jobs that will be created through this program are of particular importance for our citizens in the municipalities with the highest unemployment rate," said Purišić.

The director of the Institute, Suljo Mustafić, said that long-term unemployment remains one of the key challenges in the labor market, especially among young people.

"The Bureau announced the first public call for grants of between three thousand and 7.5 thousand euros. The money will be allocated to a minimum of 400 beneficiaries of self-employment grants, or 400 new businesses, a minimum of 140 per call, over three one-year cycles," said Mustafic.

According to him, all unemployed persons who have been registered for at least six months with the Bureau have the opportunity to apply on the day of the announcement of the call, with emphasis on young people, women, and long-term unemployed.

"That is why I urge all those who are willing to try to start their own business, to inform themselves in the Labor Offices across Montenegro as well as on the Institute's website," Mustafic said, adding that he believes that the grant will certainly be stimulating.

He said the money offered by the Employment Service is not a gift, but a grant to start a new business.

"It is support that carries a great deal of responsibility in implementation, reporting, and sustainability," Mustafic added.

In addition to the financial support, the Bureau will, as he said, as a service close to citizens, provide candidates with training and counseling when applying and during implementation.

"The published public invitation contains all the information, the number of funds, the length of the call and the conditions for participation. It also contains information on the documentation accompanying the application for participating in the program, the rights and obligations of the beneficiaries, as well as the deadlines for submitting the application," Mustafić explained.

As he said, all acceptable project proposals will be forwarded for further consideration and quality assessment.

"Due to the regional backwardness and higher unemployment rate in the north, through this project, we will strive to encourage employment in less developed areas," Mustafić said.

He said that he believes that the Self-Employment Grants Program would be an important factor in economic activity and in improving the overall environment for small business development, and thus the overall situation in the Montenegrin economy.

Text by MINA Business, on October 14th, 2019, read more at Vijesti

14 Oct 2019, 20:47 PM

14 October 2019 - Prime Minister Duško Marković visited the construction site of the Đalovica Cave tourist complex and voiced his satisfaction with the works underway, noting that it is one of the most valuable Government projects that will create new jobs and stimulate other sectors of the Bijelo Polje region.

"I am here for the first time since 15 May 2018. In just a year, we have established an impressive track record. Novi Volvox, which won the cable car project to the Đalovica Cave, is doing a great job in difficult conditions. I do not expect that seven pillars of the cable car will be erected here in these conditions by the end of the year. Therefore, we have great contractors for this project - Novi Volvox and of course, Crnagoraput," said the Prime Minister, reports his Office.

He also visited the works on the substation, which is part of the new electricity structure for electricity supply of the cable car and the cave tourist complex, and drove from Bistrica to the Podvrh Monastery, where the cable car's base will be located.

"We saw a 5,5 km road, which is being built according to the highest standards. I have to admit that I am positively surprised that this time it is done with all the necessary facilities. This will be one of the highest quality roads in the country," Prime Minister Duško Marković stressed, congratulating Crnagoraput company and its subcontractors on high-quality works, which is also the case with all other infrastructure activities related to this project.

Đalovica Cave Tourist Complex Encouraging North Montenegro Development

Speaking about the project that started a year and a half ago when the cable car construction agreement had been signed, the Prime Minister highlighted that the significance of this project could not be measured solely by the amount of money that had been allocated.

"This is one of the most valuable projects being implemented by the Government in the country. Not only because of the amount of money that will be invested in this project (18 million EUR) but because of the value this project brings with it and of course, the benefits that it will bring to Bijelo Polje, to this entire region, and the Montenegrin tourism and economy. I believe that with what we have already agreed on here, when it comes to the valorisation of the Đalovica Cave, in 2021 we will have an offer that will create new jobs and new opportunities for young people and, of course, give an incentive to other sectors to contribute to the making the best use of this area in terms of transport, agriculture, food industry and services," Prime Minister of Montenegro Duško Marković concluded.

Read more news about business in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

14 Oct 2019, 19:39 PM

14 October 2019 - According to the preliminary data on foreign trade exchange from the Statistical Office of Montenegro, in the first eight months of 2019, Montenegro has exported goods worth 263,4 million EUR.

Compared with the same period last year, the export remained at the same level. The data shows that this year, Montenegro mostly exports aluminium, electricity and bauxite.

Ms Jadranka Kaluđerović, economic analyst and director of the Institute for Strategic Studies and Projections, said to Pobjeda daily that the structure of Montenegro’s export “clearly indicates that it relies on natural and not human resources”.

"Montenegrin exports still rely more on what nature has given us, rather than on our knowledge," Kaluđerovic said. In order to achieve the goal – to rely on knowledge, Montenegro must, first of all, invest in the knowledge of children.

“Only the market can show what will dominate in the future. I hope new products, the result of our youth’s ideas, will take over: new applications, software, new organizational solutions, new platforms to connect and more”, said Ms Kaluđerović.

In the structure of exports, the most represented products are classified by material in the amount of 66,5 million EUR, which are made of non-ferrous metals, that is, primarily aluminium with a share of 42.7 million EUR and iron and steel with 13.75 million EUR. This shows that products by Aluminijski kombinat and Toščelik are still dominant in the export structure.

The export of aluminium has declined by 19% in the first eight months of 2019.

In the same period, iron and steel export have increased by 5,2%. The value of total exported electricity amounted to 42,17 million EUR, by 11% more than in the same period last year.

MONSTAT shows that the export of mineral ore, bauxite primarily, amounted to 31,6 million EUR.

Total Montenegro’s foreign trade exchange amounted to 1,99 billion EUR, by 2,1% more compared with the same period last year.

Imports amounted to 15,3%, less than in the same period last year.

The biggest foreign trading partners in export were Serbia (63,2 million EUR), Hungary (31,5 million EUR) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (20,6 million EUR).

Read more about the business environment in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

13 Oct 2019, 14:40 PM

13 October 2019 - The situation in the banking sector in Montenegro has strengthened after addressing issues related to vulnerable banks, as evidenced by excellent indicators of key balance sheet positions with 13 banks operating in Montenegro, Central Bank (CBM) Governor Radoje Žugic said at a high-level dialogue meeting with the European Central Bank (ECB), held in Frankfurt.

Žugić explained that banks' assets of 4,6 billion EUR are at a historical maximum, while the stability of the system is confirmed by an extremely high coefficient solvency ratio of 19,5 per cent, reports Vijesti daily.

"Non-performing loans are steadily declining and currently amount to 4.75 percent of purchases, which is a significant drop from 2011, when their level was 25.9 percent," said Žugic.

Interest rates, he said, continue the decreasing tendency. "Despite low-interest rates, deposits are growing, which is a testament to the confidence in the banking system," Žugic said.

The CBM said that ECB representatives were presented with new data reflecting the situation in the Montenegrin economy, with particular emphasis on the situation in the banking sector. “The Montenegrin economy has been continuously growing for the last six years. According to official data from Monstat, last year saw a 5,1 per cent growth rate, thanks primarily to strong investment activity in the public and private sectors, as well as an increase in domestic demand and private consumption, "said Žugic.

He highlighted that there were positive trends in the fiscal sphere owing to the fiscal consolidation measures implemented by the Government of Montenegro and added that, according to the Ministry of Finance projections, public debt would have a downward trend this year.

The meeting also discussed activities undertaken by the CBM to implement the planned asset quality audit of the banking system (AQR), further strengthen supervision, especially in the segment of money laundering prevention, and modernization of the payment system.

The CBM Vice Governors, Nikola Fabris and Miodrag Radonjić, presented macroeconomic trends in Montenegro, the status of negotiations with the EU, as well as the management of international reserves and the effects of the CBM's monetary policy.

The meeting also discussed the economic situation and development of the euro area banking sector, as well as the ECB's monetary policy. The ECB, they said, offered all forms of support to the CBM in the monetary policy area, especially in the area of ​​supervision.

Read more about the business environment in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

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