28 September 2019 - The introduction of a non-working Sunday, prescribed by the Internal Trade Law, will start on 14 October, Managing Director of the Directorate for Internal Market and Competition in the Ministry of Economy, Biljana Jakić, confirmed for Dnevne Novine daily.
This means the first Sunday off for trading shops in Montenegro will be on October 20th.
“The Law Amending the Law on Internal Trade entered into force on 13 July 2019. The Law prescribes that the provision under Article 35a, which refers to a non-working Sunday, shall apply after three months from the day of entering into force. Therefore, the application of this Article starts from 14 October 2019,” Director Jakić explained.
“Considering that the law prescribed a transitional period for the application of Article 35a relating to a non-working Sunday, within three months from the date of entry into force of the law, we consider that employers have had sufficient time to organize the work process in accordance with this provision," Jakić pointed out. According to her, the Ministry of Economy is in direct communication with employers on the implementation of the new legal norm.
Montenegrin Economy Minister Dragica Sekulić previously explained that they predict that there would be no drop in turnover for traders, and that the business people believe that the daily takings will be passed over from one day to the next. However, the Montenegrin Employers Federation recently filed a law-review initiative with the Constitutional Court. The Federation believes that the law is problematic from the perspective of large and small trading systems, since the Montenegrin economy consists of 95 per cent for small and medium-sized businesses.
“We can already predict the negative effects that the adoption of the law will bring in the future, especially since we have strategically decided to make tourism our main industry. The question is whether we can afford the luxury of giving up the huge traffic that takes place on Sundays, which is affected by many tourists on the coast and in the north," the representatives of the Federation highlighted.
As of October 14, as defined by law, only pharmacies, bakeries, flower shops, souvenir shops, newsstands, shops that sell plant protection products and shops that sell funeral equipment can be open on Sundays.
Exemptions for working on Sundays are also found at gas stations, retail shops within gas stations, markets, stands, counters, showcases, mobile shops, as well as vending machines outside markets. Also, shops and vending machines located inside closed areas, buses, railway stations, airports and ports, booths and kiosks selling goods during events, festivals and events, fairs and public displays of cinematic works, as well as warehouses for wholesale trade are also an exception and can work on Sundays.
Amendments to the law stipulate that employers who violate the provision and open stores on Sundays may be fined between 1,000 and 10,000 euros.
28 September 2019 - On September 26, Montenegro successfully issued bonds in the international capital market under the most favourable conditions so far.
Bonds were issued for 500 million EUR, with a maturity of 10 years and the interest rate of 2.55%, which is the longest maturity period and the lowest interest rate achieved so far.
Following the positive reviews by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, as well as positive ratings from world's rating agencies, the international investment market also positively evaluated the activities of the Ministry of Finance and the Government of Montenegro.
In this way, the investors have given full confidence to the Government's continued policy, results achieved and future planned activities in the field of macroeconomic and fiscal policy, preservation of fiscal and financial stability, and implemented and planned activities in the field of Euro-Atlantic integration.
The good results are confirmed by demand for Montenegrin securities. The investors' offer exceeded the issued amount three times, reaching a maximum of over 1.8 billion EUR.
Furthermore, given that over 190 investors from different parts of the world have expressed interest, the Montenegrin bond is generating significant interest in the international securities market. In this regard, geographically speaking, the issue has been significantly diversified, with a considerable interest of investors from the United Kingdom, Europe, the United States, and Asia. On the other hand, institutional investors, i.e. investment funds, insurance companies, commercial banks, etc. were predominant.
Significant success has been achieved in the international capital market, delivering the most favourable market conditions achieved by Montenegro since the first issue of Montenegrin foreign securities.
27 September 2019 - Montenegro and Slovenia have developed excellent political and bilateral relations, but also good economic cooperation that can be further enhanced in the fields of tourism, energy and agriculture, Prime Minister Duško Marković and newly appointed Ambassador of Slovenia to Montenegro Gregor Presker stressed at an official meeting held on September 24.
Prime Minister Marković said that the presence of about 150 Slovenian companies is very important for Montenegro and that foreign investments are accompanied with new knowledge, business practice and ethics. The positive evaluation of the Slovenian companies’ operations in Montenegro and their cooperation with the Government are the confirmation of the Government’s policy of continued advancement of the business environment. The interlocutors recalled Slovenian companies engaged in insurance, banking, energy, tourism, trade and planning that accomplished numerous achievements in these areas and that follow strategic plans for further expansion of business and new investments in the Montenegrin economy.
According to the report by the Government of Montenegro, the Prime Minister mentioned that Montenegro achieved strong economic growth of almost 5% in the past two years, reducing unemployment and improving infrastructure as key preconditions for development.
"Investment opportunities in Montenegro are great. We have consolidated the energy sector, turned to renewable energy sources and this area is a serious and great opportunity for the Montenegrin economy, as well as for foreign investments," Prime Minister Marković stated, also referring to tens of millions of euros of investments in agriculture, through the agro-budget and various EU support programmes.
Ambassador Presker emphasised that Montenegro is a factor of stability in the region and that Slovenia strongly supports EU enlargement to the Western Balkans. He added that Montenegro's experience in tourism would be valuable for his country.
The meeting also discussed the situation in the region, highlighting the importance of the EU Open-Door policy for the Western Balkan countries and the speeding up of the integration process.
27 September 2019 - From the beginning of January to the end of July this year, total foreign direct investments inflow has reached 448,2 million EUR, while total outflow was estimated at 206,7 million EUR.
A total of 173 million EUR was invested in inter-company debt, investments that do not increase initial capital. Values of companies and banks have been increased by 167,8 million EUR of investment, non-residents invested 94,3 million EUR in real estate, whereas other investments reached 13 million EUR.
From the beginning of the year until the end of July, Hungary has been at the top of the list of countries that invested in our country (51,7 million EUR). Hungarians invested 2,9 million EUR through real estate. Investments in Montenegrin banks and companies amounted to 45 million EUR, reports Cafe del Montenegro.
Russian investors are in second place. Around 41 million EUR came from Russia. Russians contribute to Montenegrin balance by purchasing real estate. They invested 17,6 million EUR through inter-company debt, whereas foreign direct investments totaled only 722.533 EUR.
Bosnia and Herzegovina come third on the list, with 31,2 million EUR of investments: 1,3 million EUR of the real estate sale, 1,4 million EUR of inter-company debt and 28,5 million EUR of investments made by three companies.
When it comes to operations of our citizens abroad, non-confidential data refers to the inflow of money from a real estate sale, whose value is estimated to be 732.702 EUR.
Another 24 million EUR came to our country through a real estate sale. But the data are confidential because of a minimal number of investors.
Read more news about business in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has launched the program “Women in Business” to encourage the development of women's entrepreneurship, and a million euros has been provided for this purpose.
The EBRD announced that the microfinance institution Alter modus had become the first local partner to join the program.
“In the initial phase, the EBRD will provide EUR 1 million to Alter Modus to support women-led micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises. The focus will be on supporting small and medium-sized businesses, especially those outside the capital Podgorica," the EBRD said.
The program “Women in Business” supports women entrepreneurs through access to finance and advisory services to help them improve their businesses.
“Since its global launch in 2014, the program has already involved more than 5,000 women entrepreneurs in the Western Balkans through both forms of support - funding and advisory services. In the Western Balkans, the program is supported by donors from the governments of Italy, Luxembourg and Sweden," the statement said.
The EBRD program “Women in Business” has so far provided more than EUR 500 million through credit lines for more than 60,000 SMEs run by women in 18 countries.
Since investing in 2006, the EBRD has financed 60 projects in Montenegro with a total value of EUR 571 million and provided business consulting and training for more than 100 women-run Montenegrin companies.
Text by Marija Mirjacic, on September 25th, 2019, read more at Vijesti
25 September 2019 - Expensive loans, collection of receivables, extended deadlines for obtaining permits and long, drawn-out court procedures in commercial disputes are some of the most important challenges and barriers Montenegrin businesspeople are faced with, said CEO of Montenegro Business Alliance Milan Dragić, CdM reports.
He said that it was necessary to intensify activities and engagement of all relevant subjects in order to reduce barriers, especially those referring to sluggishness or insufficient responsibility in public administration.
"The problem of illiquidity and collection of receivables still exists. Provision of financial funds is a problem due to expensive loans and this issue should be addressed with utmost attention, as it affects the business development. Deadlines for obtaining different kinds of permits should be shorter and a number of documents required for the procedures should be reduced. It is necessary to accelerate court procedures in commercial disputes, especially in contract performance. These barriers target all sectors and they need to be addressed comprehensively. Every economy and society as a whole depend on business. Is there anything more important than providing optimal conditions to those who create new values," asked Dragić.
According to him, innovation is necessary if we want to be competitive in demanding foreign and domestic market. In that context, the quality of products and service offered is essential.
"We should endeavor to provide the greatest possible productivity in order to increase competitiveness. Creating a stimulating environment for businesses is crucial. MBA is very engaged in this regard," says Dragić.
Asked to give his opinion on the business environment in Montenegro, Dragić says that it has considerably improved.
"MBA was the first company to start dealing with the problem of business barriers. And the progress we have made is more than obvious. Usually, people who decide to set up their own business lack initial financial funds. In other words, they are required to provide the money on their own. That has to be changed if we want to encourage business development," pointed out Dragić.
He also added that the cooperation with state and local administration authorities is increasing.
"Certainly, it can be much better, but there is will and that is what matters. Representatives of state and local authorities are becoming aware of the importance of business associations and they are ready to take up our suggestions. To be more precise, they are starting to regard us as their equal partners and that is a necessary prerequisite for raising the quality of our business relations. We firmly believe that the role and influence of business associations will become even more important," concluded Dragić.
Read more news about business in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.
Terminal 2, which opened at Tivat Airport late last year, in less than two months this summer handled 102,000 passengers and will certainly relieve the total traffic of passengers in the airport building. "This increases the comfort of passengers and the quality of service, which is the obligation of every airport to provide to the passengers," director of Tivat Airport Rade Maric told to “Radio Tivat”, emphasizing that it is necessary to raise the quality and extend the aircraft platform as a priority.
There is nothing unsafe at the Airport, but the fact is that some of the investments needed to be made long ago and that the involvement of all airport participants needed to be much greater to maintain that security at the required and demanding level. Since we have increased passenger comfort and quality of service with the new terminal, the same should be done with the expansion of the aircraft platform," explained Maric.
At this point, the priority is a wider and more comfortable platform, that is, generally to bring the entire operating areas to a higher level. The executive management of "Airports of Montenegro" has recognized this as a need and is intensively working on it, said Maric, stating that the introduction of night flights at the airport will greatly relieve traffic on a daily basis.
According to him, the priority would be that the planes do not remain on the platforms, that they are not late and that they are not diverted when it is dusk and 30 minutes after that, mainly to Podgorica Airport. "So, we would have relief and not have to rush at 9 pm, or when the peak season expires and we can no longer accept planes. This would be a limited time because we are still an elite tourist destination, and we have to keep in mind the comfort of those who come to rest in Tivat. Certainly, an hour, an hour and a half to two would significantly contribute to the relief of daily traffic," explained the director of Tivat Airport.
The airport has been doing very well this month as well. Traffic is almost at the level of the summer months, said the director of the airport, emphasizing that very good results are expected in the first half of October.
From the beginning of the year to September 22, there was a turnover of 1,188,000 passengers, which is almost 100 thousand more than in the same period of the previous year when there were 1,093,000. During that period, 6,000 aircraft were accepted and 5,860 in 2018, Maric said.
These results show that the season and the post-season are slowly equalizing, which will happen in the coming period. "We are going to extend the season to 6-8 months a year. A record was achieved this summer when 66 aircraft and 12,269 passengers were received and served in one day. That record in the history of both Montenegro's airports was recorded on August 4th.
The largest and most important resource of Tivat Airport is one significant portion of employees who every airport would wish to have. They are credited for having so much traffic in such a small space, without any incidents. "A couple of minor excesses are negligible compared to such a large number of passengers and aircraft served," the director of Tivat Airport concluded.
Text by Zora Krstovic, on September 24th, 2019, read more at Radio Tivat
Tivat airport welcomed 1.18 million passengers by September 22, which is 95,000 more than in the same period last year.
“Pobjeda” writes that the number of aircraft accepted during this period increased from 5,860 to 6,000.
Director of Tivat Airport Rade Maric said those results show that the season and post-season are slowly becoming equal.
"We are going to extend the season from six to eight months a year," he said.
Maric said that the traffic of passengers in the building was relieved via Terminal 2, through which 102,000 passengers had passed in less than two summer months.
"At this moment, the priority is to bring the entire operational areas to a higher level, which the executive management of the Airports of Montenegro has recognized and is intensively working on the same," Maric said.
Text by Boka News, on September 25th, 2019, read more at Boka News
24 September 2019 - The Government is committed to constructive dialogue with representatives of the civil sector because as decision-makers they want the NGOs to be a reflection of the entire society, Prime Minister Duško Marković said in Bijelo Polje at a meeting with representatives of NGOs from northern Montenegro.
"We need a dialogue with NGOs. We appreciate the contribution of the civil sector to policy implementation," said PM Marković opening the roundtable "Cooperation between the Government and NGOs – the key to civil society development".
The Government, the Prime Minister said, is attentive to the suggestions and criticisms that come from the civil sector and creates responses systematically and sustainably. Furthermore, he noted that the Government does not claim success alone, although it is presented in public as the only responsible subject of success is lacking.
Commenting on areas of joint work and problem-solving, PM Marković praised the contribution of NGOs from the north to environmental issues.
"NGOs from the north have strongly and directly raised the issue of individuals and private companies that are adversely affecting our living environment," the Prime Minister stressed and recalled examples of recent Ćehotina pollution in Pljevlja and Lim in Bijelo Polje where the State responded through cooperation with local NGOs.
PM Marković also emphasised that tens of millions are being spent in the north for the development of road, traffic, energy and digital infrastructure, new water supply systems and other incentives, noting that without a developed infrastructure, neither companies nor investors can invest in the cities of northern Montenegro.
"In Kolašin, as part of the on-going project, 30 million EUR is being spent to develop infrastructure and a new ski centre. Twenty-three million is spent in Bijelo Polje. We are not talking about a project that should be done, but a project that is being implemented. As a citizen, I was delighted to see this morning in the media and on Twitter a picture of a new cable car that Leitner had installed in Cmiljača. I have already talked about Đalovića cave – 18 million EUR worth project, " the Prime Minister said.
Speaking about the development of the North, the Prime Minister also referred to some comments on development policy:
"Even today, these critics tell me – development is not road construction, it is easy to build roads, Montenegro needs to open factories. Who will open a factory in the North if there is no road? Who will make a viable business plan if there is no road, if there is no power, if there is no internet? These conditions are prerequisites for any business. Imagine if these obstacles still existed in the future, imagine them as a great hurdle for any serious business and factory that can be opened in Montenegro. Therefore, we are spending tens of millions in the north today to develop road, traffic, energy and digital infrastructure, the Ministry of Agriculture is investing in new water supply and other incentives. Without that, there are no companies or investors anywhere in the world, not even in the North. I know that it is too late, that maybe we should have done it earlier, but I know we had to go in that direction – and we did," PM Marković highlighted.
The Constitutional Court instituted preliminary proceedings on the initiative of the Employers Union to assess the constitutionality and legality of the part of the Internal Trade Act that introduces non-working Sundays and public and other holidays for the majority of trade.
"In the case of reviewing the constitutionality of Article 35a of the Law on Internal Trade, a preliminary proceeding is underway to examine the procedural preconditions necessary to conduct the proceedings and obtain the necessary opinions and documentation," it was stated from the Constitutional Court to "Vijesti".
An amendment to the bill with this added article was passed in July this year, and it goes into effect from October 15, so the first non-working Sunday for traders will be October 20. The initiator of this legal solution was the Chamber of Commerce Board, while the Union of Employers launched an initiative to abolish it at the request of the shopping malls “Delta”, “Kamelija” and “Gintas”, because the proposal to make shopping malls an exception from this law was not approved.
Traders from the Chamber of Commerce committee believe that the total turnover will not be reduced but that it will shift from Sunday to other days. While the UPCG believe that such a solution is unconstitutional and violates the freedom of entrepreneurship and that it will cause a reduction in the number of employees. They state that now workers who work on Sundays are given other days off.
Text by Goran Kapor, on September 21st, 2019, read more at Vijesti
20 September 2019 - Montenegrin Prime Minister Duško Marković met with representatives of world-renowned companies Northstar and Marriott, which will build a 210 million EUR Ritz-Carlton Montenegro resort in Herceg Novi.
The owner of the Ritz-Carlton Montenegro project Mohamed Al Sager said that preparations for the construction of the resort are going according to plan, and that the hotel operator would be the renowned Marriott hotel company, adding that they have ensured that one of their 30 luxury brands, the Ritz-Carlton, is coming to Montenegro.
The Ritz-Carlton Montenegro resort will be a hotel with 300 units, with 120 hotel units and 180 apartments. The first phase of the project, encompassing a hotel, 113 apartments, 13 villas and four restaurants, is expected to be finished in the summer of 2023.
According to the statement by the Government of Montenegro, Prime Minister Marković expressed his satisfaction that such prestigious companies will invest in Montenegro and bring not only money, but also knowledge, experience, and business ethics.
"The Government has serious infrastructure agenda, which will provide new quality to the resorts on that part of the Montenegrin coast," Prime Minister Marković said and pointed to the decision to valorize the airports and request for the construction of a water terminal in Tivat, as well as the construction of a four-lane boulevard between Budva and Tivat.
The interlocutors agreed that this resort offers great job opportunities for Montenegrin citizens and discussed the establishment of the Marriott Academy that would enable acquiring new knowledge and skills for work in tourism.
Read more about the business in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.