After the Fiscal Council, the Serbian Chamber of Commerce as well has proposed its own package of measures for resolving economic issues. Emphasis was laid on the creation of a beneficial business setting and the taking of fiscal measures to result in an economic growth and a higher employment rate. More in the Economic Review, prepared by Biljana Blanuša.
There are numerous challenges ahead of the Serbian economy. In addition to the global negative economic trends, which influence Serbia as well, there are also internal problems. The reduced foreign demand has led to a drop in exports, but Serbia has had difficulty in the placement of goods for decades as its economy is non-competitive. This is just one of the examples confirming the complexity of the problems and pointing to the necessity of a new development model. The Chamber has presented a programme of short-term, medium-term and long-term measures, which relate both to the state and the real sector. According to Chamber vice-president Vidosava Džagić, measures to be applied during the first one hundred days of the new government’s work should be aimed at stopping the further drop of economic activity, establishing financial discipline, resolving the illiquidity issue and boosting employment. Support to export sectors is also required in order that the foreign trade deficit be reduced. As for medium-term plans, the priority in the period from 2012 to 2016 should be set on the removal of the disparity between production and consumption, local savings and investments, imports and exports and the number of employees and pensioners. The long-term goals include an annual economic growth rate of 5% in the conditions of macroeconomic stability, which means low inflation, a floating but predictable national currency exchange rate, financial and labour market stability, public consumption reduction to 35% of the GDP and reforms in the tax system, pension and health insurance and education. With a view to increasing competitiveness of the local economy, it is necessary to increase investments in development and research and to apply incentives for high technology sectors.
It is to the business setting that business people object most, due to high fees, cumbersome administrative procedures, the slow process of obtaining building licences, long-lasting court procedures and frequent changes of regulations, which are not transparent enough. Business people also regard the public sector as expensive and irrational. Particular cricitism has been levelled at subsidies to public companies, which, on various bases, amount to some one billion euros. The biggest problem is, however, that of illiquidity, the average receivables settlement period of 128 days in Serbia being longer than that of any other country in the region or in the EU. For instance, the same period lasts some 45 days in many neighbouring countries, whereas in Germany it lasts 18 days only. Companies have difficulty charging for the delivered goods, which renders the production process difficult. They incur additional debts, thus calling their own survival in question. The banking sector, which is stable enough in Serbia, is not ready enough to enable favourable economic financing. As loan amounts have been reduced due to the crisis, especially in the case of small amd medium-sized companies, business people believe it is necessary to form a development bank as soon as possible.