Serbian Energy Minister Mihajlovic announces new approach in energy sector doing business

3. August 2013. / Uncategorized

We need to create an encouraging legislative and financial policy in order that, not only through marketing promotion, but through simple but realistic advices, we animate by stimulation those who are unemployed to start some business that would be sustainable,” said Zorana Mihajlovic Serbian energy minister .
The fact is that investors were brought and the state provided them high subsidies of 10,000 euros for each work position, but what about those who do not enter into this thousand or five thousand people that will get a job, asked the minister and stated that it seemed they were forgotten.

“I’m sure that by microcredit mechanism, for example of 3,000-5,000 euros, which we would offer to anyone who has clear and sustainable idea, we could make ​​mass ‘contagion’ by entrepreneurship and the idea to take destiny into its own hands. This gives the possibility of opening a family companies and these are new working places “, she said.

Asked whether the SNS  has a candidate for the minister who will take over one of two former departments of the Ministry of Finance and Economy, or will left that position to one of the coalition partners, Mihajlovic said that until now there was no discussion with the party organs.

“We know that we are more responsible than others because we are stronger, but also we know that our errors are visible. That is the reason why we started our people reconstruction, from the ministers and moreover. The goal is to create new values and be a positive example. Agreements on who will take over but also what kind of team will have some of ministers just wait for us. No matter how clever and experienced you are, only team make results”, she said.

Regarding the information that SNS plans, within the government reconstruction, to bring in some ministries people who approved by their work in areas outside Serbia, Mihajlovic said that it was a great idea and did not see that anyone could be bothered because of that.

“The interest is only one – that Serbia goes forward. This is not possible if we will not attract the most capable people, creating challenges for them, but also working conditions for goals realization. We cannot just rely on the patriotism and nostalgia, we already saw that we could not live only of it. However, if we create an attractive business environment for capable and educated people, then patriotism only additionally will help that more young people really accept the challenge with enthusiasm and pride “, said the minister.

After one year on the ministry position, she evaluated that there were not enough expert or experienced people, and because of that she recalled again professional, diligent and experienced people wherever they were in Serbia or abroad, to follow carefully all the opportunities for the business engagement in Serbia, to find a space for themselves, to come and help their country.

Despite the different promises, Mihajlovic pointed to the earlier practice which was continued to put party people on the leading positions in the public companies, what, in her opinion, should not be the deciding factor.

“Fortunately, this area was arranged  by the Low on Public Enterprises, and however it looked go slowly, the standard was changed and concourses also for directors were advertised, but also within the Ministry. Also this Ministry, by which I currently manage, by the beginning of September will announce the competition for admission,” announced minister.

Asked why the government, after only one year of work, changed goals, she shortly answered this was “all about evolution.”

Reminding that in the first year of mandate, two basic objectives were completed – starting negotiations with the EU and the stabilization of Kosovo – which created new ones, she said:

“In the future we will primarily focus on the economy, development and financial stability, and it is important to make the best possible composition in the government, but also in the other institutions, which will set strong foundations  for economic development, creation of  high mobility and entrepreneurship conditions, removal  of all difficulties and obstacles that hampered investment decisions making but also space creation for much more attraction of  foreign investors”.

The results are, she repeated, extremely important, so someone did not satisfy expectations and plans, and for someone there is estimation that someone could better operate within it.

To the conclusion that after became minister, as her predecessors, promised new electro energetic facilities, but that nothing happened in this regard, Mihajlovic said that in this area was invested during more than thirty years, and that the plan for this year was to ” have certainly at least two primary contracts to larger infrastructure facilities, of course, in addition to the launch of more than 200 small hydropower plants, which will open nearly 1,000 new work positions.”

She reminded that for the opening of one mineral field needed three to four years, and thermal or hydro power plants had to be built at least for the same period, adding that energy and mining should be one department, as well as the department of environmental protection should be integrated into one ministry, and not within three, as it is today.

“We start negotiations for EU membership. One of the most difficult areas is the area of environmental protection, there is a lot of the work that needs to be done, from the new legislative legislature, to the ambience in both areas. Same with mining”, she added.

Asked whether the energy generally can develop without realistic prices and whether it would be necessary so many new facilities to make the price reasonable, Mihajlovic said that construction of new facilities should not only satisfy our needs, but  that Serbia needs energy with  the idea of  industrial development  but also how to become an exporter once again.

“The strategy that I represent is for the long period, because if you just looked at the electricity price, you could say that we do not do nothing except import, since the price is very low, but it will not remain like this,” said Mihajlovic added that our price is only one of the factors related with investment and investors to come.

“Competition and market opening are priorities, but again with the state duty to balance between those customers, to whom every price is high, and to those who invest, to whom every price is too low,” she said.

Asked why still was not created EPS corporatization plan, Minister says that she agrees with the general assessment that everything goes too slow.

“I am committed to clearly determine the date by which the PE reform needs to be done, such as, for example, was determined  the time limit for resolving the destiny of the company in restructuring. And that decision should be made by the government,” she said, adding that her impression is that in EPS and Srbijagas many people still believe that nothing will change, that the state will protect them, even though the opening of the market wait for them which cannot be postponed.

For oil pipeline South Stream, Serbia made all preparations that are necessary to begin construction of this oil pipeline, said the Minister adding that the start of construction depends on the Russian partners, not from Serbia.

Asked whether is unraveled a knot around Srbijagas or it will wait for the new (reconstructed) government, she pointed that the one thing is Srbijagas reform, and quite another crime and corruption in that enterprise.

“Time is working for us in the sense that even if there is reform resistance, it has to be carried out, otherwise it will not be Srbijagas. And, with reference to another, the authorities do their job.”

Asked how do many scandals opened in the past year affect the investment climate, Mihajlovic noted that everything cannot be done at once.

“Of course that many people will shelter behind the story of the investment environment. And I tell you that investors are sick of talking face to face, of scams and everything that we had,” she said, adding that things are changing in Serbia, but that she would like that  it goes faster.

Source; MERZ

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