War destruction and the transition process have not spared the municipality of Šamac either, which, according to the last categorization of the Government of the Republic of Srpska, has been transferred from the community developed to a medium extent to the category of underdeveloped local communities.
The reason for this situation, according to Mayor, Djordje Milicevic, lies in the fact that, during the pre-war period and also after the war, this municipality neglected its main potentials, favourable geographical position, development of large agricultural holdings and agricultural production. There were 7 active economic entities once in the area of this municipality, which do not exist today, while the then port on the Sava River belongs to history today, too. In addition to war events, this was largely “caused” by the privatization that was carried out in a highly suspicious way.
Mayor Milicevic points out that the major priorities include “attracting the investors, reviving the economy and new jobs”, and, according to him, the total amount of investments in the municipality today is 6.5 million KM. Mayor Milicevic stressed that he faced “a difficult financial situation in the municipality and a debt of 12 million and six hundred thousand KM”.
Pero Djukic, President of the Managing Board of the Kayak-Canoe-Rafting Club “Ušće“ from Šamac, founded by a group of enthusiasts and currently having 150 members, said that the biggest problems they face are almost the same as in all other local communities, including: the lack of financial resources, purchase of new equipment, repair of the existing one, and lack of competitors, for which Djukic blames the outflow of the population from Šamac, which is, as he says, more and more increasing. He points out that Šamac has great tourist potentials, reflected primarily in summer and fishing tourism.
In order to exploit these tourist capacities, the support of the authorities, if any, does not suffice. Accordingly, Mayor Milicevic points out that the assistance coming from the state and entity level is not directed at the development of tourism potentials.
President of the CAS “Šamac”, professor Mladen Radović, confirms that there remains very little or no money for development of economic projects, infrastructure and sports, and that cultural situation is not in any better position either. This company has around 80 young people, and despite numerous acknowledgments of their work, the burning problem is the lack of funds for financing the work of this Cultural-Artistic Society. The significance of such cultural associations for Šamac is great, and Radović believes that investing in culture and sports is not only necessary for the development of a municipality, but is a must, and also adds: “Why there are no funds and why this question cannot be solved are the questions for those deciding on it, but unfortunately, decision-makers at all levels are not interested in sport and culture … there is always a lot of work to be done, and the responsibility for this is always borne by the local community.”
Poor economic situation, emigration of the population and general apathy are the causes of stagnation when the development of Šamac is in question. “The biggest obstacles to the development of the municipality of Šamac at this moment is certainly the outflow of the population from the area of our municipality,” Mayor Milicević confirmed during the conversation and stressed that he undertakes various measures aimed at struggling with migrations of the population, such as holding various traineeships, offering tuitions for students, one-time assistance for the birth of children and the introduction of financial support for artificial insemination for young married couples.
Given the current situation of the municipality of Šamac, poor political and business climate in the country, and the lack of initiatives at both local and higher levels of government, which would otherwise trigger positive processes, it will be hard to expect major changes in near future.