Business

23 Jun 2019, 22:37 PM

22 June 2019 - Zsuzsanna Hargitai, director for the Western Balkans at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has said that the countries of the region will need almost two hundred years to catch up with the average income level of the EU member states if their progress continues in such a slow pace.

Speaking in an interview with Serbian weekly Business Magazine (Nira Press), the Western Balkans director said that complex business regulations and the state capture of public enterprises were the main reasons why the Western Balkans lag behind, adding that the course, however, could change.

Ms Hargitai emphasized that the less involvement of the state and more investment in infrastructure were the primary tasks of the EBRD when it comes to helping the region.

“This (current state), however, can and should change because the countries of the Western Balkans have well-educated people who can be productive as their peers in Western Europe. Better institutions, less government interference, more investment in infrastructure - these are the most important tasks and the EBRD is there to help in all areas,” Hargitai emphasized.

She also explained that the EBRD representatives would like to see improved preparation and implementation of projects in public infrastructure projects - which would contribute to faster achievement of tangible results in this area.

One year ago, Zsuzsanna Hargitai was appointed as Regional Director for the Western Balkans at the EBRD and in one of her first statements, she announced that she would seek to increase EBRD's investments and support in the field of economic policy on the path of the countries of the Western Balkans towards the European Union. She also stated that the process of EU accession is the main driver of reforms.

Now, a year later, Ms Hargitai says that already in the past year, the volume of EBRD investments has increased to close to 400 million, while at the same time, they continued with activities to improve the policy framework.

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

23 Jun 2019, 21:45 PM

22 June 2019 - The gross domestic product (GDP) of Montenegro in the first quarter of 2019 amounted to 876.5 million EUR and in absolute terms, the value added increased by more than 40 million EUR in relation to the same quarter of the previous year, it was announced by the Statistical Office of Montenegro (MONSTAT ).

Statistical Office of Montenegro - MONSTAT is the competent body for the production of official statistics. MONSTAT's role as the carrier of official statistics in the Montenegrin statistical system has been recognized by the domestic and international public.

The report by MONSTAT presents the results of the preliminary calculation of the quarterly gross domestic product, at current and constant prices, using the consumption method for the first quarter of 2019.

Montenegrin GDP Increase of 3 per cent in first quarter 2019

The data shows that real GDP growth in the first quarter was three per cent, while the nominal growth rate was 4,4 per cent.

According to EUROSTAT data, Montenegro is at 47 per cent of the EU's development.

"In the first quarter of this year, the most significant growth was recorded in tourism - 38 percent when it comes to tourist arrivals, and 22 per cent when it comes to tourist overnight stays. On this basis, tourism revenues increased by eight per cent in the first quarter, and according to the Central Bank data, they amounted to 47,3 million EUR. Significant growth was also recorded in the services sector, traffic and information and communication," said Gordana Radojević, director of MONSTAT, for RTCG.

The decline in production was recorded in the industrial production sector by 14%.

The representatives of MONSTAT agency said that the increase in GDP in the first quarter was partly a result of the increased inflow of investments, as well as a better collection of taxes, excise duties and customs duties. It was noted that in the first quarter, the unemployment rate was reduced.

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

23 Jun 2019, 03:45 AM

22 June 2019 - Prime Minister of Montenegro Duško Marković recently visited Karisma's Holiday Villages Montenegro tourist resort in Ulcinj, which had been opened a little over a year ago, reported the Government of Montenegro.

The management of the new tourist resort built on the bases of the former Bellevue and Olympic hotels informed the Prime Minister about the activities it has undertaken and expressed satisfaction with doing business in Montenegro.

Prime Minister Marković visited a new part of the complex, which had been opened last month, including 96 spacious luxury apartments, two new swimming pools, one for adults and one for children and other facilities. PM Marković congratulated the management of the hotel and tourist complex Holiday Villages Montenegro on the new facilities and the fact that already in the pre-season they have 80% of the capacity filled, saying that this data, as well as all parameters, indicates that this tourist season will be very successful, as were the previous two.

Prime Minister Visits Karismas Holiday Villages Montenegro in Ulcinj1

Less than two years ago, Holiday Villages Montenegro purchased a part of the HTP "Ulcinjska rivijera" property under a contract involving an investment of over 30 million EUR in hotels adaptations and modernisation and creation of new tourist facilities.

This company continues to invest in the further development of the hotel-tourist complex. At its session on 28 March 2019, the Montenegrin Cabinet gave its consent to the request of the company to enable it to establish a first-rate mortgage over buildings under construction in order to build a new facility - a dependence of a four-star hotel, as well as a facility for technical support.

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

23 Jun 2019, 03:26 AM

22 June 2019 - The Government of Montenegro has allocated, through the Capital Budget, around 500.000 EUR for the construction of the town square in Racina-čaršija street in Plav. The Public Works Administration signed a contract with Nikšić-based company "LD Gradnja" LTD on the construction of this square. The deadline for the completion of the works is 120 days from the date of the contractor's introduction into the business.

The square will be built in the place of the current courtyard of primary and secondary schools, on an area of nearly 4.000 square meters. The project solution is based on the modern arrangement of city public areas, while retaining the elements of the traditional. There are plans to maintain a healthy and highly cultivated greenery, while the greenery that is removed during the construction will be replaced with new seedlings.

The plateau contains a manifestation area in form of an amphitheater, stands, a pedestrian zone, and a children's playground, as reported Public Relations service within the Government of Montenegro. For the tiling, they provided a natural stone, which is resistant to wear, impact and low temperatures.

The Government of Montenegro also provided 1,09 million EUR through the Capital Budget for the reconstruction of part of the road Rožaje – Štedim, within the fifth phase of works on this section. According to the announcement of the Government of Montenegro, the construction contract was signed yesterday between the Public Works Administration and Rožaje-based company Tofi. Deadline for completion of works is 150 days from the date of the introduction of the contractor into the business.

This is the final phase of the road construction in a total length of 7.2 kilometers, leading to Štedim, the location where the construction of the base station for the new ski center at Hajla is planned. The realization of this project creates the conditions for starting preparations for the construction of the ski resort.

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

20 Jun 2019, 00:58 AM

18 June 2019 - At the invitation of Deputy Director-General of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, Ms. Charlina Vitcheva, Minister of Science of Montenegro Sanja Damjanović participates in the conference Supporting Smart Specialisation Strategies and Transfer of Technology in Southeast Europe at the Polytechnic University in Bucharest, Romania. 

In her introductory address, Vitcheva commended Montenegro's efforts in the development of the Smart Specialisation Strategy, which, after two years, is in the final phase of the process. Vitcheva reminded that last May in Sofia the main theme of the conference on strategies for smart specialisation was the Western Balkans and the development of these strategies in the Balkans region. The first international workshop in the Western Balkans, dedicated to this process, was held in Podgorica on 5 February 2019, organised by the Ministry of Science and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. 

During the panel session "Improving Innovation Policies in Southeast Europe through Smart Specialisation Strategies and Transfer of Technology", Minister Damjanovic said that Montenegro was very proud because on Thursday the Government will consider the Smart Specialisation Strategy. 

In Montenegro, there are more than 105 strategies, but the Smart Specialisation Strategy will unite all those that are focused on developing economic, or scientific and technological potential, as stated in the Ministry of Science's report.

As the Minister pointed out, Montenegro is also working on establishing innovative ecosystems by encouraging the creation and development of start-ups. The first Scientific and Technological Park in Podgorica will be a leading institution dedicated to the promotion of technological transfer, and one of the main instruments for the implementation of the Smart Specialisation Strategy.

Based on the strategic vision of Montenegro's development, the Strategy defines four priority areas, three vertical ones: sustainable agriculture and a food value chain, energy and sustainable environment and sustainable and health tourism, as well as a horizontal priority area: information and communication technologies, because it provides business and technical support to other priority areas.

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

20 Jun 2019, 00:38 AM

18 June 2019 - The Government of Montenegro fully supports the planned further strategic steps of the University of Montenegro to improve the quality of studying and positioning of the University as well as to improve the material status and professional status of teaching and non-teaching staff, as noted during the meeting between representatives of the Government of Montenegro and the University of Montenegro leadership.

Rector of the facility Prof. Dr. Danilo Nikolić, President of the Steering Committee of the University of Montenegro Prof. Dr. Duško Bjelica and Vice-Rector for Science and Research Prof. Dr. Irena Orović presented the results of the previous development and activities that include improving the teaching process and significantly improving the position of the University of Montenegro in international scientific circles and scientific publications as well as the complete financial stabilisation of this facility.

Representatives of the Government of Montenegro expressed full support to the activities of the University of Montenegro in the development of the first University of Montenegro Development Strategy 2019-2024. This umbrella document includes, among other things, the development of e-learning systems, the formation of study programmes in English, the launch of interdisciplinary studies programmes, systematic training of teaching staff, and the strengthening of cooperation with the economy and the public sector.

"I am glad to see that you have a vision of the development of the University that you will transfer to the Strategy. It is a new quality, and I welcome it. I also welcome ideas for improving the material status of employees. You have my support in this," as noted in the report of the public relations service of the Government of Montenegro.

The meeting noted that the Government and the University see a common interest in improving systemic solutions related to the financing of scientific work and scientific-research projects to reach the European average of state allocation for scientific-research projects.

Representatives of the Government of Montenegro and the leadership of the University of Montenegro agreed to jointly address the needs of higher education in the Northern Region. Following the Government's policy of development of the North and the fact that a large number of development projects are being implemented in our region, the need for opening special programmes for the higher education of profiles required in infrastructure, agriculture, tourism and other areas is shown.

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

16 Jun 2019, 23:20 PM

15 June 2019 - The Privatisation and Capital Investment Council adopted the Request of the Port of Bar AD - Bar for the sale of 100% of shares in Sidro Hotel and accepted the Request of the Hotel Group Budvanska rivijera AD - Budva for giving consent to the Decision on modification of the Decision on sale by public auction regarding the sale of Piva Hotel in Plužine. The Auction Commission should conduct a procedure for the sale of part of the property of the Hotel Group Budvanska rivijera AD - Budva - Piva Hotel in Plužine in accordance with the Decree on sale of shares and assets through public auction in accordance with this conclusion. 

As of 31 March 2019, the fixed assets of Sidro Hotel amounted to 1.172.118 EUR, while receivables amounted to 56.377 EUR, capital 575,929 EUR, accumulated loss 5.944.443 EUR, long-term liabilities and provisions 37.051 EUR, deferred tax liabilities 103.904, and short-term liabilities amounted to 543.859 EUR, as noted in the report of the Government of Montenegro.

The discussion pointed out this facility did not operate positively since the opening in 2010 and that the management of the Port of Bar intends to use the money from the sale of Sidro Hotel for the rehabilitation of Volujica quay construction in the length of 554 m and the construction of a 6,000 m² prefabricated storage facility. The session emphasised that 34 employees at Sidro Hotel were protected by a high-quality collective agreement in the five-year period after the privatisation, and the Council recommended to the Port of Bar to make the final decision on the sale of Sidro Hotel, adding that an integral part of the decision is a social programme that should be implemented by a potential buyer. 

The initial price of Sidro Hotel is set at 1.704.480,02 EUR.

By accepting the Request of the Hotel Group Budvanska rivijera AD – Budva, the Council agreed that the new Decision on sale by public bidding would indicate the price of 152.000 EUR, since the book value of the Hotel amounts to 150.966,98 EUR. The Council instructed the Auction Commission to conduct the sale procedure for the part of Piva Hotel in Plužine in accordance with the Decree on sale of shares and assets through public auction. 

The Privatisation and Capital Investment Council reviewed the Information on the fulfillment of conditions for the issuance of the fourth bank guarantee to Global Ports Holding and proposed to the Government to adopt the Information, which states that this company invested the amount of 2.027.879,05 EUR in the rehabilitation and reinforcement of the construction of the southern coast of Gata 1, which created the conditions for the issuance of the appropriate bank guarantee.

The Council passed the Proposal of Decision on amendments to the Decision on the privatisation plan for 2019, which envisages the sale of the remaining part of 1,45 percent of state-owned shares in the New Tobacco Plant AD Podgorica, after the current majority owner expressed his interest in the purchase of the remaining state-owned shares.

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

16 Jun 2019, 22:24 PM

15 June 2019 - The Summit of finance ministers, governors and directors of the tax administration of the region, organized by the Belgrade’s weekly news magazine NIN, was held recently in Bečići and it included a panel of directors of tax administration devoted to the reform of tax administration and fight against the grey economy.

Director of Montenegro’s Tax Administration, Mr Miomir M. Mugoša, in his introductory speech, emphasized that the Government of Montenegro invested significant funds in the project ‘Reform of tax administration’ having in mind the importance of this institution in the system of public finances. On this occasion, he also noted that he expects that this project will contribute to the reduction of administrative burden and somewhat greater compliance with tax regulations, that is, reduction in the overall tax gap.

“Mugoša presented the activities implemented so far, within the overall reform of taxes in Montenegro, including modernization of business processes, investment in information technologies, greater autonomy and reorganization, all with the aim of establishing a modern tax administration capable of responding to market’s requirements and ensuring high levels of public revenue collection,“ it was said in a statement of the Montenegrin Tax Administration.

At the end of this summit, the panel members concluded that there was a need for even closer regional cooperation and not just in terms of sharing experience and knowledge but for the region to be able to establish a single approach in dealing with common challenges, such as the fight against the grey economy and tax evasion.

Source: Cafe del Montenegro

16 Jun 2019, 00:06 AM

15 June 2019 - Minister of Public Administration Suzana Pribilović attended the Regional Conference of Europe and Central Asia on building effective, responsible and inclusive institutions, which took place in Ankara. 

The main topics of the first ECA conference were innovations in governance reforms, raising the capabilities and responsibilities of governments, as well as examples of good practice in management reforms and presentation of the latest solutions and applications for society and companies. In addition, the conference divided into six thematic areas that are fundamental for development of capabilities and responsibilities of the governments, discussed strengthening public policies, effective management resources, the improvement of public services, strengthening of the public-private cooperation in order to the effective operation and investment, understanding and engagement with political and economic drivers and Gov. – Tech.

On the sidelines of the Conference, Minister Pribilović met with Vice President of the World Bank for Europe and Central Asia Cyril Muller, who supported Montenegro's public administration reform path. 

Minister Pribilović thanked Vice President Muller for the opportunity to attend the Conference, as well as to discuss important reform processes in the area of public administration. 

"We are aware of the fact that it is not possible to improve the competition and economic growth without quality of public administration reform and I thank you for the World Bank's support for Montenegro and we expect support to be continued in the future," Minister Pribilović pointed out in the public announcement for Ministry of Public Administration of Montenegro.

Vice President Muller emphasised the importance of the financial reform sustainability and highlighted that Montenegro has done much more in this area, bearing in mind the complexity of this process and that it should continue with the initiated processes. 

The Conference that was organised under auspices of the World Bank for Europe and Central Asia (ECA) was attended by about 450 delegates, including senior government officials, international partners, representatives of academia, the private sector and civil society from all the countries of the Europe and Central Asia, including the EU member states. 

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

15 Jun 2019, 23:21 PM

14 June 2019 - Prime Minister Duško Marković recently hosted Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Tomaš Petriček, who is on an official visit to Montenegro.

In Government's of Montenegro report, it was noted that Montenegro and the Czech Republic had developed high-quality bilateral relations and that Minister Petriček's visit will give an additional incentive to Montenegro.

PM Marković expressed gratitude for the continued support of the Czech Republic during the process of Montenegro's accession to NATO, and now in the process of EU integration and for the country's advocacy for the European perspective of the countries of the Western Balkans.

Minister Petriček voiced his country's full support for Montenegro as the leader in the process of integration into the European Union, stressing that his country encourages Montenegro to continue its committed reform implementation. Successful reforms, as shown on the example of the Czech Republic, directly result in economic growth and development after joining the EU, he underlined.

The Prime Minister of Montenegro and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic agreed that the economic cooperation between the two countries should be strengthened, primarily through the contacts of the chambers of commerce.

It was concluded that the investment climate in Montenegro is favourable and that the Czech Republic is interested in primarily in tourism projects and further development and restoration of Montenegro's infrastructure, especially railways.

The meeting also discussed the situation in the region of the Western Balkans and Europe as a whole.

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

14 Jun 2019, 15:31 PM

Digital business transformation is a relatively new term in the domestic market, which is currently very much talked about, but still, there is little knowledge about the same. What it implies and how it can contribute to the sustainable development and growth of companies in the digital age and what are the steps for successful business transformation are revealed by Marija Raseta Vukosavljevic, CEO of TeleGroup Montenegro. This company is already a quarter of a century engaged in the integration of technology and business, and from 2013, it helps business users to connect, digitize, automate and protect their business most optimally.

Companies around the world, including Montenegro, are faced with the challenges of digital transformation. What does it really imply and what is the biggest challenge facing companies in the 21st century?

Digital transformation is indeed a relatively new term in the domestic market that is much talked about, and there is little knowledge about or an even better understanding of its essence. People often put the sign of equality between digitization and digital transformation, which is incorrect and can point the company in the wrong way. By introducing ERP or CRM you have not transformed your business, you have somewhat improved the way you work and automate certain processes, which is essentially a digitalization process. On the other hand, the multilayer process that implies adapting your business model to the digital age where interaction with the customer and creating value for the user, I dare say, is digital transformation. One would say, what is this change in the mode of work compared to ten or twenty years ago when it is logical that the user is always in the foreground?! The difference is enormous, in my experience.

We live in a world where the user dictates the game - wants the best possible service or product at the best price with the utmost convenience of consumption. Customer reviews on our products and services have a much greater impact on the public than ads of the brand itself. In order to survive, it is necessary to create this new value for the user. Companies often glorify their own products and think that the previous success is guaranteed and because of this, a priori do not want to change anything in their business. Because of this way of thinking and business based on the principles of the economy of the past century, companies risk their survival. Is there a bigger challenge?!

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 Which are the most important steps for successful business transformation? Do companies need help in this process, or they can do it all by themselves?

There is no universal manual to become a modern company from a conventional one in a few steps. One of the most important things in this process is the ability of companies to create a new value for the user, to quickly change in accordance with the characteristics of the contemporary market and to put their ideas on the test through continual communication with users, because they are the only ones competent to verify ideas no matter if they are about creating a new product, service or new way of delivering it. Many business theorists will say that only startups can make worldwide tectonic disturbances on the market. However, the facts deny this. There are a number of good examples of companies that have emerged in the pre-digital era, and timely understood the rules of a new market game such as General Electric, Toyota or, say, the Britannica. They started, at the right moment, the process of transforming the business model to provide to the user, who is more demanding within the spheres of digital technology, additional value for the money invested.

This process is not easy. It is most difficult to change the awareness of people in one organization. On this path, the companies above had the help of a consultant whose task was to revive the entrepreneurial way of thinking, the one who brought them success at the beginning of their work. Today, within the TeleGroup system, we have a team of innovators that are made of certified digital transformation consultants. Our mission is to help companies, regardless of their size and business, to provide new growth paths through the innovation of products, services or a complete business model that is in line with the 21st-century economy principles. We believe that this is a chance for the growth of the domestic economy. 

Digital technologies are a driver of innovation. How much is the Montenegrin IT market up-to-date in terms of tracking technological trends and introducing innovations and how it is positioned in relation to the countries of the region?

The IT scene in Montenegro, like most countries, is directly dependent on economic and business conditions, so it can be said that in Montenegro, with little delay, there are developed and provided services at the regional level. With the development of the economy and its need for further progress, the domestic IT sector is working to innovate its own bidding and develop tools that will enable companies to work more efficiently while reducing operating costs. However, much more state support is needed in terms of creating formal prerequisites mostly from the aspect of regulation, in order to allow undisturbed work to organizations within the digital economy. If you look at what has happened in China for the past 10 to 15 years, if you look at how much economic growth has been achieved through services driven by modern technology platforms, it is clear to you that this is the time that gives everyone a chance to make a revolution. Because, as Erik Ris says, innovations are not reserved for some sort of chosen circle of people, but the ideas that change the world are often hidden in the most unexpected places.

Specifically, Montenegro has high-tech companies and is experiencing growth in the domestic IT sector but faces a serious lack of professional staff. Our talented IT professionals of all profiles go abroad where they are offered much better conditions not only for earnings but also professional training. One way that the domestic IT industry is advancing and retaining quality people is to develop its own innovative products that will have a greater share in overall growth compared to outsourcing services. This is a creative part of a job for which young people go overseas and which can bring companies a dazzling success, and production on order itself cannot be such for sure. That is why we are delighted that in Montenegro, there are innovative technology startups which are trying to make that difference.

It is also necessary to support both the state and the economy in order to develop a home-grown startup ecosystem, and young people to get the chance to make great things in the country where they were born. One of the positive examples is the Association of Montenegro Managers, which through all its activities, especially through the Digital Transformation Board, is trying to foster innovation and a new business perspective to make everyone achieve more.

Through the development of IPTV platforms and innovative TV applications, the company TeleGroup has shown that telecommunications operators can provide sustainable development in the digital economy era where the end user dictates the game. What kind of innovation is this?

I will give you an example of one Telekom operator in the region who has decided to expand its portfolio and offer enhanced IPTV services to keep the lead position in the target market. What did we innovate? We have been working on innovating digital television services. First, we responded to the primary user request and implemented the most up-to-date IPTV multiscreen platform that allows consumers to watch video content on any smart device. But in that process, we have gone a step further. Along with their video team, we've been thinking about what video services are going to make them more competitive than other operators in the region.  

After a thorough analysis of the current state of the market for IPTV services in the region, the ability to experiment and test new ideas quickly, we have developed innovative TV applications that enable citizens to surf on favorite social networks on ordinary TV and then buy TV packages while sitting in the armchair without going to the branch office and modify the subscription model, record and watch missed TV content up to 72 hours back, have a video, mosaic channels, watch the news and favorite sports forecasts and other similar things the user used to have on his smartphone, and now that same experience and the ultimate multimedia experience on their TV. As a result, our client has gained steadily the number of new users, thus we as a technology partner fully responded to the requirements and helped create this new value for the user.

Cybercrime is a much-talked-about topic and we agree it represents a severe challenge to the world's largest companies. Hacker attacks are getting more and more common and the impression is that companies in the digital era face the challenge of preserving the security of their information systems and keeping their data safe. How can TeleGroup company respond to these challenges?

Information security is facing a huge challenge in the 21st century. The motives for attacks are increasing, and how hackers come to data and how they use them to gain their own interests are more and more creative and innovative. And despite black statistics and publicly available data on how many economies are losing ground around the planet due to unauthorized intrusion into systems, there are still many companies in the region that do not invest in protecting their business. People are fooled and think that t it will not happen to them, they are unaware that just as these thoughts go through the head, the hackers are messing up with their emails or websites or business applications …

We fight each day against the attacks, and we are not a global corporation. I particularly highlight this due to the small and medium-sized companies that are irresponsible in relation to this reality. We live in a connected world and preventive security strategy is the first and most important step that every smart company is undertaking. Therefore, this is the first thing we work with the customers - or we're starting it from scratch or the existing “cybersecurity strategy” we bring to the level of today's frames. After that, we are designing and implementing "cybersecurity" solutions that will drastically reduce security risks and provide maximum protection at the user's network level, data, and the most important applications, because the biggest risk today is right here - in the world of business applications.

Nobody and I underline absolutely nobody can guarantee that you will fully apply the latest technology tools to completely protect your business. Unfortunately, along with the technology development are also growing the security risks that need to be understood and to have the ability to manage them.

Text by Promo, on June 13th, 2019, read more at Vijesti

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