While the recent European Economic Forecast of Winter 2015 talks of an average growth of 0.8 per cent in the Eurozone and 1.3 per cent across the European Union in 2014, the Montenegrin economy will grow by 2 per cent.
But the growth rate is not the most important factor when it comes to investing or doing business in a country. More crucial are the business climate, competitiveness, and other indicators.
And in this area Montenegro sees continuous progress. The World Bank’s Doing Business report shows the country ranked 36th, higher than the Slovak Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and even the Czech Republic and Slovenia. We have also recorded progress in economic freedoms, according to the Fraser Institute Freedom List and the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report.
But there’s still more to be proud of. Namely, quality progress has been recorded in the procedure of issuing building permits. Along with this, improved transparency through the publication of all documents on the portal of the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, as well as the adoption of relevant legislation in this area, have contributed to significant improvements. This has resulted in a reduced number of procedures, a shorter period of time needed to issue permits, and lower costs.
In addition, the flow of goods at the border has been made easier and the automation of the customs procedures has improved their transparency and predictability, as they are less subject to the influence of human factors. The realisation of custom procedures is increasingly done in line with the most up-to-date trends, which excludes a subjective approach.
The exemption from utility costs for the construction of high class, four and five star hotels at certain municipalities is a significant incentive and it contributes to the development of tourism. It would be good if all sectors recognised as strategic followed this example.
With respect to the registration of property, a new notary system has been introduced. This system has united the procedures for the drafting and legalisation of sales agreements, which has made this procedure faster and better.
The Government has recently adopted the Decree on Boosting Foreign and Domestic Investments, which envisages the introduction of significant incentives. It states that the financial incentives, based on accurate criteria, can be approved for foreign and domestic economic agents that aim to invest a minimum of €500,000 EUR and open at least 20 jobs in a period of three years, which is considered as an investment period. The beneficiary is obliged to maintain the same level of investment and the number of jobs in the period of five years following the completion of the investment project.
We expect that these incentives will be recognised by a significant number of investors. In addition, the realisation of the investment Porto Montenegro, as well as of those investments which were started last year, such as Lustica Bay, Portonovi, etc., will be an excellent promotion for Montenegro as an attractive investment opportunity, which is of special importance for the achievement of our economy’s sustainable growth.