Serbia looks to borrow “USD 2-3 billion” from UAE

Published on September 14, 2013 5:00 am

Serbian First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić has said the country expected to take out “a very cheap loan from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).”

According to him, it would be worth “USD 2-3 billion,” and would allow Serbia to get through the difficult period, create conditions for successful reforms, improve the business environment and increase employment.

Vučić told RTS he had recently asked Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed in Scotland for the UAE to loan Serbia “USD 2-3 billion” at the lowest interest rate and with a payment deadline of 20 or 30 years.

“That would practically be a present to this country. We would use a part of that loan to pay back our most difficult debts. At the same time, we would lower the public debt, which the IMF would welcome, I think, and we would inject the rest of the money into the economy in various ways,” he stated.

“It would allow us to create an arrangement with the IMF, improve the image of Serbia’s economy in the world, become a member of the WTO by the end of the year and I think we would have a better economic environment as soon as next spring,” Vučić stressed.

Commenting on the situation in the Serbian economy, he pointed out that Serbia will have to pay next year around EUR 1 billion in interest to foreign loans, another EUR 1 billion would have to be spent on subsidies and the budget will still require around EUR 6 billion for pensions and welfare, just like this year.

“That is why we have to focus on reforms,” said Vučić, adding that the government would try to create jobs for people, mainly by effecting positive changes in all areas, from making changes to the law on construction and planning and the labor law to changing tax rates and creating a better business environment, but not to the detriment of the most vulnerable part of the population, who would be taken care of with special measures made to their benefit.

Pointing out that about 35 percent of the country’s economic revenue comes from the “grey” economy, whereas in developed countries the share of “informal” economy is up to 15 percent, Vučić stressed that this share should be reduced and the underground economy clamped down.

There is no doubt that the government has to create a better business environment for investment, but this “means nobody should wait too long to obtain (operating) license, it means new labor law,” Vučić said.

He said that it would take “a lot of sweat, tears and problems” to get through everything and people had to understand that a difficult period was ahead for Serbia.

“But when all this is over, we will be a major regional leader,” Tanjug quoted him as saying.

Source B92

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