AmCham Montenegro held the conference „Openly with the Prime Minister“
Podgorica, April 27, 2018- The cooperation between the Government of Montenegro and the business community represented by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham Montenegro) through program „Partnership for Better Business Environment” which should enable the business community to overcome business barriers more efficiently, to produce quality legal acts regulating the business environment and their improved enforcement by both the public administration and private sector. This has been said on todays’ conference „Openly with the Prime Minister“ with H.E. Duško Marković, organized by the American Chamber of Commerce, and attended by the members of the Chamber, representatives of the state and local administration, as well as the representatives of international organizations.
The President of the AmCham Executive board, Ms. Katarina Bulatović emphasized the importance of involvement of the business community in the legislative process, because, according to her, only transparent and predictable decision making process can lead to the improvement of the business environment.
Bulatović said that the American Chamber of Commerce, in the previous ten years, has been committed to creating favorable conditions for the business environment, with an aim to attract new American and other foreign investors, as well as to keep the existing ones, which all together contributes towards the development of the Montenegrin market and economy. She noted that both AmCham and the Government of Montenegro have set the fight against the grey economy as their primary goal and said that the business community is expecting stronger and more determinate politics and legal framework which will enable to take the actions towards the suppression of the grey economy.
Bulatović emphasized that, for the business entities, it is of great importance to be informed about possible changes in the tax policies in timely manner, in order for the companies to have enough time to adjust their businesses and plans to new circumstances.
Predictability of the tax policies, fight against grey economy and corruption, protection of the environment, labor market mobility, transparent policies in the field of real estate and tourism, are important when making a decision whether to invest in our economy or not, said Bulatović and concluded improvement in the above mentioned fields will contribute towards the transformation of Montenegro in modern, European country.
During the interview between the President of the Government of Montenegro, H.E. Duško Marković and the President of the AmCham Montenegro, Ms. Katarina Bulatović, many questions regarding the governmental plans in the abovementioned fields were discussed.
The guests were addressed by the Charge d’Affairs a.i. from the U.S. Embassy in Montenegro. Judy Kuo congratulated AmCham on their jubilee, noting that AmCham, during the ten years since its founding, has succeeded to create strong and credible business association which will create positive changes and help to establish investment climate in Montenegro which will attract both Montenegrin and global investors.
Kuo said that the United States of America and Montenegro are allies, which share many mutual aims, including the improvement of trade partnership and economic cooperation. Many American investors are ready to start with the realization of important projects in Montenegro, said Kuo, and emphasized that Montenegro can improve the trust of the investors by eliminating bureaucratic barriers and contribute towards the process which will promote investors’ trust.
During the interview held between the Prime Minister Marković and Bulatović, many questions about the future governmental plans in the aforementioned fields were discussed.
When asked about his opinion regarding the so far cooperation within the program „Partnership for Better Business Environment”, he said that the partnership between the Government of Montenegro and AmCham is not only important from the aspect of legislative work which will improve the ambient and create conditions for the development, but also from the aspect of better understanding of business environment by the administrative authorities, explained Marković.
When asked if the representatives of the business community will be involved in the work of the Council for Competitiveness, Marković invited the companies to send concrete initiatives and suggestions to the Council, in order to improve this field.
During the conversation with Ms. Bulatović, Prime Minister Marković noted that the fight against grey economy is one of the greatest challenges the Government is facing, and that measures taken in the previous year have given effects.
He reminded that the special Commission for the fight against grey economy has been formed, and that he expects it to achieve good results in this year.
Marković did not announce new increases in tax liabilities for the businesses in the following period and added that, so far, the Government did not increase income taxes, but mostly taxes on consumption.
When asked if the Government did an estimation on the rates of parafiscal taxes and if they had any plans regarding the registry of parafiscal taxes onlocal and state level, Marković said that the Government dealt with this issue on the local level even on the basis of „the pressure by the business community and association of the employers and businessman“.
,,On the burdensat the local level, at this moment, the Government cannot influence as much as it is needed. The analysis has shown that administrative charges for the payment of local taxes are more expensive than the revenue from these taxes. He expressed his belief that the Government and the local administrations together, joined by the associations of employers, will come up with the realistic access to this field, said Marković.
On the question regarding the improvements of the Draft of the Labor Law, Marković said that, currently, this legal act is under consideration by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, European Commission and the International Labor Organization, adding that, once this is done, the Government will carefully consider the comments of the business community.
„I believe that the legal solution which states that small business must have act of systematization represent a business barrier. He added that the Government will pay attention to other existing disputable legal solutions. We are a society of social justice and we must take care of the employees. Regarding the collective agreement, I believe we made a step forward in this department’’, noted Marković.
When asked about the ways in which the state can help the development of the ICT sector in order to speed up the process of digitalization, Marković is of opinion that there is no IT society and digital economy „if we don’t do something that is vital for that kind of developments“.
„We must work parallel on both sides. We have to educate people, to spread IT knowledge’’, replied Marković and invited the AmCham business community to „an even more intensive and meaningful cooperation in the future“.