Radulovic: EUR 200 mil. needed for enterprise restructuring
Serbian Economy Minister Sasa Radulovic said Thursday that the Serbian Development Fund has earmarked EUR 200 million for assistance to enterprises in the restructuring in 2014.
However, the enterprises will have to post financial statements, make property inventories, determine their debt liabilities, list their claims and draw up their business plans for 2014 to be able to receive this assistance, he said.
Speaking at a meeting of representatives of industry trade unions and 153 enterprises in restructuring, Radulovic said that Serbia had fallen prey to a marauding and criminal privatization.
Stressing that the workers are not to blame for the situation facing many enterprises, but rather the government and political parties that allowed it, Radulovic said that after the “cleansing of the balance sheets,” all creditors and employees in these enterprises will become stakeholders in them.
After debt-for-equity swaps are made, employees will be paid part of the unpaid salaries they are entitled to lay claims on and their years of service will be calculated to include the periods when they did not receive any salaries, he said.
He explained that the workers will first be paid the minimum salary amounts for the periods in which they did not receive any salary, and they will be able to swap the remaining part of their salaries for a stake in the enterprises, the minister said.
The minister pointed out that the ministry has never planned to liquidate enterprises under restructuring or have them declare bankruptcy, but rather planned to get them restart production and help revive domestic economy and make profits.
Representatives of trade unions and enterprises in restructuring adopted a decision urging the government to adopt a special program for revitalization, reorganization and social protection in enterprises in restructuring at their very next meeting.
They demand from the government to provide funds for payment of salaries or part of salaries to employees until conditions are created for privatization, and also money for social care of those who are about to lose their jobs.
After the meeting, the unions’ representatives temporarily gave up on their demand for the dismissal of the economy minister and decided to wait until January 31 to see if that which was agreed at the meeting has been honored.
The Ministry of Economy will earmark RSD 4 billion from the 2014 budget, and thus help create private funds for investments in information technologies, Minister Sasa Radulovic said on Thursday.
At a conference on the situation in the IT sector that was organized by the Serbian Association of Employers, Radulovic said that the state would give 20-40 percent of the capital to such funds, but would not interfere in the choice of projects that the funds would be invested in.
The financial industry would do a positive selection of investments, check business plans, decide in what to invest, and entrepreneurs, innovators and workers would have to whom to offer their ideas, the minister said.
Some people have already voiced interest in setting up the first funds as soon as at the beginning of 2014, he said, but noted that more people with business ideas in various phases of development are needed to apply to the funds.
Radulovic said that the Ministry would not waste money for some small projects, but would like to create a private venture capital industry that would finance the projects.
The role of the state is not to pump in money but rather to create an environment, as Serbia’s future lies in the IT industry, he said.
That is why without money, any idea is useless, so there has to be an ecosystem for financing such ideas, and the evaluation of ideas cannot be done by civil servants, but rather the private sector, Radulovic noted.
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