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SERBIA & MONTENEGRO: Serbian Gov't Enhances Economic Development of Municipalities

Serbian Minister of International Economic Relations Milan Parivodic presented a new programme for stimulating economic development of municipalities (MEGA) stating that the programme aims to provide training for municipalities in Serbia and equip them with an efficient mechanism and institutions necessary for attracting foreign investors and providing support for them.

At the presentation held in the Belgrade City Hall, Parivodic pointed out that the project should encourage economic development of municipalities since they are the key factor in the country's economic development.

Serbian President Boris Tadic, US Ambassador to Serbia-Montenegro Michael Polt, Serbian government representatives and presidents of ten municipalities also attended the presentation.
Serbian Minister of State Administration and Local Self-Government Zoran Loncar said that the MEGA programme is a considerable contribution to the development of local self-governments in Serbia.

He also stressed it is necessary that the new Constitution provides a high degree of decentralisation so that economic development of municipalities would not depend on foreign assistance.

The programme is financed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and aims to strengthen local self-government, create new jobs and open new companies, attract foreign investors and set up partnership between the public and private sectors.

US Ambassador to Serbia-Montenegro Michael Polt explained that the MEGA programme is a response to the fact that 75% of municipal presidents in Serbia assessed local economic development as the top priority.

He added that the programme, worth USD 24.5 mln, will include 24 municipalities and the first ten of these will be Indjija, Kragujevac, Krusevac, Loznica, New Belgrade, Prokuplje, Subotica, Uzice, Vranje and Zrenjanin.

These municipalities will take part in the first stage of the programme.
The programme will help set up industrial facilities and centres for improving businesses and developing new industries, promote export, reform income tax and simplify the regulations for tax relief.

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