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.
The Local Public Revenue Authority of the Municipality of Budva, until September 8th, collected just over three million euros for the residence tax, which is 250 thousand euros more than in the same period last year.
In spite of one of the most problematic seasons, the management achieved to realize the plan and exceed the collection of taxes, despite the poor capacity utilization during the pre-season and the peak, which lasted only twenty days.
Secretary of Finance and Acting Director of the Public Revenue Collection Authority, Petar Odzic (SDP), said last year's record results were exceeded.
“Out of the total amount of EUR 3,000,116 collected, EUR 1,494,783.50 relates to the payment of the residence tax for private accommodation. Last year, EUR 2,764,353 was collected in the same period, of which EUR 1,391,360 refers to individuals, ”said Odzic.
He recalled that since the beginning of June, teams of tourist inspectors, authorized to control private accommodation and collect the residence tax, have been on the field.
"We plan to have the controls in private accommodation by the end of September, while the hotels will be controlled throughout the whole year," Odzic said.
He recalled that the price of the residence tax remained unchanged and amounted to one euro, and revenue from it in the diameter of 80 percent to 20 percent is shared by the Tourist Organization Budva and the National Tourist Organization.
Text by Vuk Lajovic, on September 18th, 2019, read more at Vijesti
19 September 2019 - Prime Minister Duško Marković was recently on a working visit to Nikšić, after which he stated that the municipality follows the Government's strategic development policies that are focused on the overall development of the country and improving the quality of life of its citizens, and that in Nikšić there is a boom in investments from both the public and the private sector.
"Here, we see progress in every place and the main indicator of such a trend is the information that the unemployment rate in Nikšić today is below 13 per cent. In early 2016, it was 22.8 per cent. So, people in Nikšić are working, people in Nikšić are getting employment, a lot is being done in Nikšić on the development of utility infrastructure, new roads, water supply, social infrastructure - over 1,000 apartments are being built today in this city. Therefore, we have a new quality here, we have people here who can finance it, and the State is investing tens of millions through its capital projects. Only the reconstruction of the regional road from Nikšić to Vilusi or what we have done from Petrovići to Vraćenovići and of course the entry into the procedure of construction of a new road from Cetinje via Čevo to Nikšić will cost over EUR 50 million. We have a great situation in Nikšić, one serious team, a good partnership between the Government and the Municipality," the Prime Minister said.
According to the official statement by the Government of Montenegro, during his visit, PM Marković and the representatives discussed the current city development projects, such as phase II of the sewer system, reconstruction of the city football stadium, for which the Government allocated 3 million euros, and the Football Association of Montenegro 1.5 million euros.
The Prime Minister, alongside Minister of Sports and Youth Nikola Janović, laid the foundation stone for the construction of a multifunctional playground at the Dušan Bojović Elementary School in Župa. On that occasion, PM Marković promised that the Government would finance the construction of the entire section of the road from Župa to Nikšić in the length of 21km.
Read more about the business environment in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) believes that the rush to complete the highway from Bar to Boljari will endanger state finances, that is, fiscal sustainability, and that completing the highway through new loans would require new fiscal adjustment measures.
Work on the first section of the highway from Smokovac to Matesevo, which was due to be completed in May this year, was extended until October next year. The first stock will cost the state about 900 million without interest and exchange differences between dollars and euros. Since public debt has increased significantly due to the construction of the first section, the government has been forced to initiate fiscal adjustment measures, including wage cuts, higher excise duties and VA. The IMF estimates public debt at 88 percent of GDP at the end of 2019.
"The rush to complete the highway is likely to jeopardize fiscal sustainability. Completion of other stocks could cost an additional 25 percent of GDP. If the government decides to complete the highway between 2021 and 2026 through new loans, government debt (including guarantees) will remain above 80 percent of GDP in 2020. Without new debt, public debt could be reduced to 50 percent of GDP by 2030," the IMF estimates.
As they explain, in the case of a new loan, the return of debt to its initial level in 2030 would require a new round of fiscal adjustment of about three percentage points of GDP between 2021 and 2023. GDP is now 4.8 billion euros, so an annual "fiscal adjustment" would mean that about 140 million euros should be provided through savings or taxes.
"Completing and maintaining a new fiscal adjustment of this size would be difficult," the IMF said.
The IMF believes that further planning of the highway should be paused until a credible feasibility study is conducted that should assess the economic return relative to the construction of another section. The IMF recalls that the Montenegrin government has commissioned a new feasibility study, due to be completed next year.
“If it decides to continue the highway work, we advise the Government not to undertake further construction or financing until at least 2023 when public debt should drop, estimated at below 60 percent of GDP. The construction of the second section is likely to be cheaper (by about 300 million euros) and will provide further benefits in connection with the north and tourist areas," the IMF said.
The IMF mission advised the authorities to carefully weigh the benefits of the highway Bar-Boljare project over the alternative use of scarce public resources.
"As the first section of total four is due to be completed by 2020, authorities are weighing options to build a second section. Past feasibility studies, completed several years ago, have estimated the low economic return of the entire highway, based on the limited potential of toll revenue in relation to costs, ”the IMF said.
This organization also points out that continuing to build a highway using the Private-Public Partnership (PPP) model could also entail significant fiscal costs.
“The government wants to investigate the PPP structure to complete the highway and avoid new loans. If a feasibility study suggests that the rest of the project is unlikely to meet the required rate of return on the private partner, it is likely to seek guarantees from the state.
The assumption of certain risks - including construction, availability and demand risks - under Eurostat rules requires that the project is recognized in the country's balance sheet, thereby achieving equal effect, as well as financing the project by a loan from the government. The need to pay the minimum guaranteed budget revenue could also impose significant expenditures due to a long concession contract, ”the IMF estimates.
Without fiscal sustainability, there is no construction of another stock
The IMF mission states that the Government has informed them that it will prudently proceed with further construction of the highway and that, by the time of the new feasibility study in 2020, it will analyze models for the construction of the second section.
"Authorities state that completing the first section is their top priority and will not start the second section if its solutions are fiscally unsustainable," the IMF said.
Text by Marija Mirjacic, on September 17th, 2019, read more at Vijesti
16 September 2019 - The University of Donja Gorica in Podgorica and Municipality of Cetinje are organizing the 24th Miločer Development Forum from 14 September to 18 September, while the main forum topic will be "Ecology: Regulation, Education, Business". The forum will gather renowned experts from all over the world.
Professor of the University of Donja Gorica and vice-president of the Association of Economists of Montenegro Zoran Đikanović on the occasion of Miločer Development Forum stated that the main goal is the promotion of the young and new ideas, reported Cafe del Montenegro.
According to him, the mission of the forum is to promote new ideas and boost the sense of future and a new thought.
"Our goal is to launch new ideas, new visions of development, new communication and to open Montenegro to the global world. The forum is testing the possibilities of the practical application of new ideas, in terms of opening new businesses or new areas of research," stated Đikanović.
When asked why they opted for the main topic of this year’s forum to be "Ecology: Regulation, Education, Business", he said that the aim of the forum is to tackle several aspects of ecology: regulation in this field as the main precondition for sustainable development, business operations in this field, especially new ideas, as well as new ideas for funding projects in the field of ecology. He also added that regulations would be regarded in the context of the European laws and Montenegro’s accession to the European Union.
"The forum represents a basis for stimulating new thoughts and ideas. It raises awareness of an individual about his/her obligation to develop himself/herself and the environment as well. The forum always gathers many young people who have the opportunity to hear a lot of new information," said Đukanović on the topic the young and their future challenges at the regional and global level.
This year’s forum has been backed by the Center for Climate Change, Natural Resources and Ecology… New business ideas will be presented as well.
"That is a newly-established and innovative center with a clear vision. They are part of the international projects provided by Germany and other European countries as well," pointed out Đukanović.
"In the part referring to business, there will be presentations of business ideas from this area, primarily ideas of the UDG students as well as the students from the University of Montenegro and those from the region. The forum will present seven business ideas in the field of ecology, and some of them have already been funded from international sources. That is why this forum differs from all the other gatherings in Montenegro and the region as well," concluded Đukanović.
Read more news about business in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.
15 September 2019 - Seventy-one individuals have well more than 1 million EUR on deposit at the end of August, the Central Bank of Montenegro (CBCG) told Dan daily. This data refers to both residents and non-residents.
The representatives of Central Bank also explained that the largest amount of money deposited was 31.9 million EUR, adding that the central bank didn’t collect data about the clients’ jobs.
At the end of 2018, as CdM reports, the number of individuals who had over a million euros on deposit was 69, which is by 2 per cent less compared to the situation in August 2019. "The total amount of the 10 largest deposits of individuals in Montenegro (residents and non-residents) amounted to 88,2 million EUR at the end of August this year, while the total amount of the 10 largest deposits of residents amounts to 32.4 million EUR," said the representatives of the Central Bank of Montenegro.
According to the data of CBM, the number of millionaires in Montenegro is increasing each year. In 2017, Montenegro boasted 64 millionaires, while in 2016 there were 54.
The CBM data also shows that in 2017, the largest amount of cash kept on deposit was 63.3 million EUR, while now it amounts to €31.9 million.
Read more about the business environment in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.
15 September 2019 - The credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s recently published a new Report for Montenegro, which confirmed the previous outlook of the country that has been marked as "stable", while preserving the B + / B rating, reports Montenegrin Ministry of Finance.
Credit analysts of this agency confirmed that Montenegro is on the right track of development.
Assessing the trends in Montenegro’s economy, the Standard and Poor's emphasized the significant results achieved in the sectors of tourism and energy and the considerable inflow of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). The strong performance of the tourism sector supported the real growth of almost 5% in 2018, which is the highest growth that Montenegro recorded in the past decade. This trend is continued in 2019 because tourist arrivals for the first six months increased by 20 % compared to the same period last year.
Significant foreign investments provide a great contribution to the rating. According to the projections of the Agency, the FDI will amount to an average of 10% of GDP per year in the next four years, and they are mainly concentrated in the real estate sector, hospitality, and the energy. The on-going projects in the hospitality sector include several high category coastal resorts and hotels for tourists with preferences in the area of mountain tourism.
At the same time, the representatives of this credit agency welcome the completion of several significant projects in the energy sector, such as the reconstruction and upgrading of power plants, the new capacities for the production of electricity and the Montenegro – Italy submarine cable that will enable Montenegro to export electricity. According to the report, the aforementioned sectors represent the base for further growth of Montenegro’s economy and the potential to boost Montenegro’s credit rating.
Furthermore, the Agency considers that the construction of the highway, as a public investment encouraged growth as well. After completion, the Government expects that the highway will connect the coast of the port of Bar and the border with Serbia, bringing together remote regions and improving road safety.
Standard and Poor's welcomes the Montenegro’s EU path as a candidate country, highlighting the important potential in the implementation of the reforms, which harmonise with the EU acquis and a large part of the population support to the EU integration, in addition to the stating that Montenegro has built relatively strong institutional frame in the regional context.
Read more about the business environment in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.
12 September 2019 - Montenegro will establish two centres of excellence in the field of food science and biomedicine, worth 2,5 million EUR, of which the state will co-finance 1,8 million EUR in three years.
The Government of Montenegro has adopted the Information on Support for the Establishment of New Centres of Excellence, which elaborates the results of a new competition conducted this year. The competition resulted in two very high-quality proposals, according to which the Ministry of Science will enter into funding negotiations. The total value of the two projects is about 2,5 million EUR, of which co-financing from the state budget is 1,8 million EUR for three years.
The first-ranked centre is in the field of food science called: Centre of Excellence for Digitization in the Field of Food Safety and Food Authenticity – FoodHub by Prof. dr Aleksandra Martinović, reports the PR service of the Government of Montenegro.
The second-ranked centre refers to research in biomedicine. It is headed by Dr Vjeroslava Slavić.
The main features of this instrument of support of the Ministry of Science are:
- creating strong cores of the scientific and innovation ecosystem, bringing together researchers and experts who focus on full-scale research, recruiting and scholarships for young researchers;
- creating or significantly improving products or services for a well-defined industry that can help existing Montenegrin businesses improve their international competitiveness by integrating advanced knowledge, technology and innovation into traditional sectors of the economy and
- establishing international cooperation, which is a very important factor in the operation of the centres, as they should be the hubs through which we more effectively connect with Europe and the world.
Minister of Science, Sanja Damjanović congratulated the teams of both top-ranked projects on extremely well-prepared applications, but also praised other proposals through this competition which showed that there are many quality ideas in our community, that people are willing to work on implementing complex programs that can bring visible improvement in to our society and especially to the economy, with the expectation that negotiations with the two first-ranked teams will be successfully completed by the end of this year when their realization will begin.
12 September 2019 - The Government of Montenegro will invest about 580 000 EUR in the construction of the water supply system at the site of the future ski resort Cmiljača in Bijelo Polje, it was specified in the contract, signed earlier this week by the Public Works Administration of Montenegro and the best bidder in the procurement procedure, Podgorica-based company "Vukotić Trade".
It is about one of the segments in order to put into operation new centre and the deadline for the completion of work is six months from the day of introducing contractors to work.
For this site, the Public Works Administration has already contracted the construction of the six-seater cable car with the capacity of 2.600 skiers per hour and 3 kilometers of ski slopes, with a total value of 8 million EUR, reported the Government of Montenegro.
Recently, the construction works have begun the construction of electricity infrastructure in order to prepare for installation of substation 35/10 kV, which will power the ski centres Cmiljača and Žarski and the process of punching access roads in the length of about 16 kilometers is ongoing.
The realisation of the investment in Cmiljača will allow the . valorisation of the tourism potentials of this mountain area in which the Government will invest around 23 million EUR in the next three years.
Read more news about business in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.