The Minister of Economy and Entrepreneurship of the Republic of Srpska, Vjekoslav Petričević, assessed that the measures of the Government of Srpska, which were adopted after the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic, are among the best in the region, but that the Government will not stop. given that the pandemic is still ongoing.
Petričević pointed out that in that way, the Government showed seriousness and responsibility towards the economy and the citizens of Srpska.
– After the outbreak of the pandemic, the Government decided to preserve every job, which is important for Srpska, but also for businessmen. We know very well that even before the outbreak of the pandemic last year, there was a problem with the workforce – said Petričević in an interview with Srna.
According to him, the goal was to provide, above all, regular salaries to workers, while keeping businessmen in the capacities they had before the pandemic.
He emphasized that regardless of the crisis related to the coronavirus virus epidemic, there were the least laid-off workers in Srpska and that Srpska is among the best in the region.
Petričević stated that the measures of the Government of Srpska primarily referred to tax measures, but also assistance to workers in the form of payment of the lowest salary, with the payment of taxes and contributions.
– The government wanted to exclusively help workers, while the second package of measures refers to assistance to economic entities whose business volume has been reduced due to numerous reasons – the impossibility of access to raw materials or difficult placement of goods on the Western European market – he explained.
Petričević reminded that one of the first measures adopted by the Government of Srpska was the payment of incentives in the name of salary increase, which is implemented by the Ministry of Economy and Entrepreneurship.
– In fifteen days, all companies that have exercised the right to those funds have been paid. On that occasion, 501 business entities applied, and 429 of them exercised the right to do so. This measure covers about 12,000 workers, and it is about the amount of slightly more than three million KM – said Petričević.
He also mentioned as significant measures the postponement of the payment of obligations under the final account from 2019 to economic entities, as well as the reduction of the lump sum for small businessmen and craftsmen from 600 KM to 240 KM.
– One of the measures is a moratorium on loans, which were placed through the Investment and Development Bank of the Republic of Srpska, in the period from three to six months. The Banking Agency of Srpska gave recommendations to commercial banks to approve moratoriums on loans to both individuals and legal entities for a period of six months – Petričević pointed out.
With further activities, he added, the Government acted responsibly and conscientiously regarding the attitude towards the economy, especially towards those businessmen who were immediately banned from working by the decision of the Republic Emergency Situations Headquarters and local self-government headquarters where taxes and contributions were paid in March, amounts to about 10.5 million KM and included about 30,000 workers.
– In April, those measures were expanded and referred to 36,000 workers in the amount of about 26 million KM – stated Petričević.
He added that the data and requests under the second regulation, which refers to assistance to economic entities and entrepreneurs who had a reduced volume of business or partial cessation of work, are currently being processed.
The government, he stated, is determined to help them as well, and the currently competent ministries are processing their requests, and after that, they are sent to the Compensation Fund for payment.
Petricevic said that the number of workers that will be included is around 32,000, and the amount is around 25 million KM, which fits in with the analyzes and estimates from the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic that about 55 million KM for 68,000 workers will be needed for those purposes in April.
– For May, the Government also made a decision that contributions will be paid for those economic entities that started working on May 11, and for those who exercised the right after that date, the amount of the lowest salary with taxes and contributions will be paid for that. It will take between seven and eight million KM – said Petricevic and added that businessmen welcomed these measures.
He said that the Government of Srpska will not stop there, but will in the next period look for solutions with the representatives of businessmen that will make their business easier, considering that the pandemic of the coronavirus is still going on.
Petričević emphasized that during the epidemic, certain economic entities, mostly from the processing industry, above all the textile, leather and footwear industries, had a chance for new products, where a large number of companies switched to the production of protective masks.
Petričević believes that the promotion of the “We buy domestic” campaign is important, adding that it is important to raise awareness among citizens to buy domestic products.
– In that way, we strengthen Srpska and keep jobs – said Petričević.
Speaking about the work program of the Ministry for this year, Petričević said that it will be realized, adding that certain laws that were supposed to be considered in the second, will be considered in the last quarter of this year.
Petričević pointed out the law on social entrepreneurship, as well as the law on free zones, which will be very important for businessmen and which gives a chance to attract both domestic and foreign investments.
– We use the best experiences of Serbia in that because they have a free zone in Pirot, which is considered one of the best in Europe and the third in the world. We will try to use the advantages of Srpska as well – said Petričević.