Gala dinner in honour of the program Partnership for Better Business Environment
In honour of the Program “Partnership for a Better Business Environment”, the American Chamber of Commerce in Montenegro organized a Gala Dinner on 12 December 2018, at the Hilton Hotel, and hosted a panel discussion with: Minister of Economy, Dragica Sekulić, Minister of Finance, Darko Radunović, Minister of Health, Kenan Hrapović, Minister of Labor and Social Welfare, Kemal Purišić and Minister of Sustainable Development and Tourism, Pavle Radulović.
AmCham Montenegro has been implementing the Program “Partnership for Better Business Environment” since April 2017. The aim of the Program is to raise mutual understanding between private and public sector in Montenegro in order to efficiently eliminate existing business barriers, as well as to provide better legal acts and better implementation of legal norms by both public administration and private sector.
-We believe that timely involvement of the business community in the process of creating a better business environment is crucial and The American Chamber of Commerce, through the work of our committees and representatives of the state administration, defines the challenges, but also offers solutions for the elimination of business barriers, said the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Montenegro, Katarina Bulatović.
She pointed out that in the previous Business Climate Report (BCR) it was underlined that the level of grey economy is still critical. Also, it was noted that there is need for better coordination between state authorities, in order to establish an adequate model for measuring the range of operations in the grey zone, as well as a model of more efficient suppression of illegal business. Also, among other things, the BCR covers major labour market challenges in the form of inadequate labour legislation, high tax rates and wage contributions and the lack of qualified labour force, as well as the need for greater transparency in the regulatory process.
The next Business Climate Report, which will be published at the beginning of the next year, will show whether some progress has been made and which challenges are still ahead of the business community in Montenegro, Bulatovic added.
The key strategic points, on which AmCham will be focused in the future, through the work of the committees, are digital transformation, reducing grey economy, and the improvement of labour legislation and the labour market in general, said the president.
U.S. ambassador in Montenegro, H.E.Judy Rising Reinke, said thatshe will use her mandate to create new opportunities between the United States and Montenegro.
“As a strategic partner of both our governments, AmCham plays an important role in this process,” said U.S. ambassador in Montenegro, H.E.Judy Rising Reinke, adding that the path to economic prosperity is hard, but we could succeed through joint efforts.
During the panel discussion, which was held by AmCham’s Executive Director, Marko Miročević, the ministers exchanged views on important topics for the business community and gave an overview of further steps, in order to develop the business environment in Montenegro.
-The Law on Public-Private Partnership is a condition, but also a good basis for further investment activities, infrastructure investments, as well as improvement of the environment for investments for public interest, said the Minister of Finance, Darko Radunović.
Speaking about the Law on Public-Private Partnership, the Minister said that we can expect that the proposal of the mentioned law will be in the parliamentary procedure in the forthcoming period and pointed out that the concept of the Law is based on efforts to create new opportunities for growth of investment, through new investments on a partnership basis.
The panellists discussed about digital transformation and digital business, which will be one of the priorities of public administration in the coming period, and private companies also. In this context, AmCham’s Executive Director announced that AmCham has recently formed the Digital Transformation Committee, which will work on developing the competence of the state and its services to digitally transform, which is supposed to optimize their efficiency.
Minister of Economy, Dragica Sekulović, said that in the field of electronic communications has been achieved a huge success and it is result of joint work of responsible partners, renowned international telecommunication corporations operating in Montenegro and the Government of Montenegro, which has harmonized the legal and regulatory framework with the European legislation and created a business environment that is transparent and non-discriminatory.
The Minister of Sustainable Development and Tourism, Pavle Radulović, spoke about the tourist season, which was excellent, saying that 2018 was the first year in the history of Montenegrin tourism, where more than 1 million tourists stayed in Montenegrin hotels.
“Currently, tourism is participating in GDP with 23 percent, but we will try to reach 30 percent. First of all, we need to provide a diversified tourist product. Fortunately, God has given us a beautiful country and we will try to use this fact for the benefit of all our citizens, Radulović said, adding that income from tourism this year will be more than one billion euros.
When it comes to healthcare, Minister Kenan Hrapović said that new Medicines List, as one of the most important acts in the pharmaco-economy of one country, will provide contemporary treatment and improve the quality of health care of the citizens of Montenegro.
Among others, the panellists also exchanged opinions on the current project “Social Card of the citizens of Montenegro”. Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Kemal Purišić, said that it is a capital project of the Government, which enabled the implementation of the reform of the social protection system, with the aim to provide better social and family protection for the poor and socially vulnerable citizens.
Also, on the panel it was spoken about stimulation of the import of electric cars, by Minister Sekulić, as well as the initiative to lower the cost of roaming for Western Balkans countries and other relevant issues from other ministries.
On this occasion, the American Chamber of Commerce gave Recognition awards for the special contribution to the PBBEto the Chairpersons of the Labor Relations Committee and Health Care Committee, Ms. Dragana Stojković, (Crnogorski Telekom) and Mr. Miloš Raičević (Hoffmann-La Roche).
AmCham Montenegro is independent non-profit business association. Founded in 2008, currently gathers 85 American, international and domestic companies in Montenegro.
AmCham Montenegro is dedicated to improving the business environment of Montenegro in order to attract more U.S. and other foreign investments.