Damjanović: The focus of the Government should be a strong development paradigm

Also, as he added, the former government did not fulfill its legal obligation and did not submit the budget proposal to the Assembly within the legal deadline, which would then, in a joint amendment procedure with the new government, correct the proposal and adopt the budget for the current year in accordance with political and economic priorities.

Damjanović, Photo: Savo Prelević

The extremely problematic legacy of the former authorities conditions that the new government is constantly on a double track, ie between eliminating inherited doubts and a strong development paradigm that must be in the focus of the Government, said former MP Aleksandar Damjanović.

He said that inherited doubts, empty state coffers, at least 100 million “new” obligations in only a few companies in the field of transport, serious indications for a number of criminal acts and violations of regulations in numerous spheres of social and economic life and the need to such things are legally prosecuted.

“All this consumes serious energy for what would be figuratively the second, ie the first track, and that is a strong development paradigm that must be in the focus of the Government, revival of dead economic activity, support to the economy, serious domestic and foreign investments, primarily in energy , agriculture, transport and digital sector “, said Damjanović to the Mina-business agency, commenting on 100 days of work of the Government.

He said that the general impression was that the dynamics of forming the Government after the elections, and the three months of “idleness”, made it impossible to do some things faster and more efficiently, so we worked as far as objective circumstances allowed.

“First of all, I mean personnel changes in companies with majority state ownership, mostly problematic entities, which are conditioned by scheduling and holding shareholders’ assemblies,” said Damjanović.

Also, as he added, the former government did not fulfill its legal obligation and did not submit the budget proposal to the Assembly within the legal deadline, which would then, in a joint amendment procedure with the new government, correct the proposal and adopt the budget for the current year in accordance with political and economic priorities. .

“One of the factors that slowed down the expected dynamics of change is the not very good cooperation between the parliament, ie the parliamentary majority and the Government, which led to very thin legislative activity in recent months, which negatively affects the dynamics of institutional and even necessary personnel changes.” Damjanović.

According to him, when all this is kept in mind, and when it is known that the precondition for all conditions for economic development and increasing the living standard of citizens is the fastest possible adequate health response to the coronvirus pandemic, according to which Montenegro is in the infamous world top, it is clear what challenges the new government faced.

“Also, without good cooperation between the Government and the Parliament, as well as adequate changes in the prosecutorial-judicial apparatus and other institutions, it will not be possible to move forward with the dynamics deserved by the majority of our citizens who voted for changes last August,” Damjanovic said.

Commenting on the government’s move to indebt the state through the issuance of Eurobonds in the amount of 750 million euros, he said that the former government emptied the state coffers and new indebtedness was inevitable.

“Having in mind that our credit rating was recently lowered, it is clear that postponing borrowing would lead to a higher debt price, and the bond issue certainly gave room for short-term consolidation of public finances and creating preconditions for smooth settlement of budget obligations,” Damjanovic explained.

Certainly, first of all those like regular servicing of salaries and pensions, and without radical measures to reduce them. As he stated, the public debt is unsustainable in the long run, and borrowing will be increasingly difficult and more expensive in the coming period.

“Montenegro simply has to find a balance between what is being created and what is being spent in our country. I am convinced that the Government sees this problem and is aware of the reserves which, without radical measures in the part of payment of salaries and pensions, ie new large borrowing, will lead to the recovery of public finances “, said Damjanović.

He assessed that the radical fight against corruption and crime, which have grown to such an extent in Montenegro that they directly affect economic flows and reduce economic growth, is one of the first priorities.

“The fight against the gray economy, its reduction to an acceptable European level, fairer and indiscriminate taxation, ie higher taxes for those who have more and earn more, rationalization of budget expenditures and reduction of enormous costs for various consulting services, material and energy costs and many other irrationalities which could be used until tomorrow, are reserves that must be used so that the needs of new borrowing are exclusively in the zone of necessary development and investment in economic capacities “, believes Damjanović.

Speaking about the shutdown of the national airline, he said that after many years, on the market principles of unsustainable business of MA, the line had to be drawn.

“Not only was it impossible to continue the policy of state support due to Montenegrin laws and European rules, without which MA could not survive, but also that in the short term with such support new huge doubts would be created, so the guild we would all pay for in the end was much bigger “, said Damjanović.

He stated that the question was raised whether Montenegro should continue to be the owner of the airline, having in mind the European experiences which indicate that some, richer countries, do not have their own national airline, or have joint companies with neighboring countries.

“The government estimated that it is necessary to continue to have a state-owned company and entered the model of creating a new company, certainly using the legacy of the now former MA, purchase of aircraft from leasing, professional and technical staff, as well as inherited procedures.” said Damjanovic.

According to him, having in mind the inherited obligations and the fact that the capital of the former company was less than those obligations, it was difficult to go to the model of transferring assets and liabilities, although this current model is not ideal, and creates anxiety, especially regarding deadlines. the company should essentially start working.

“Due to the prolonged duration of the pandemic and the consequences it has on global air traffic in general, the need to prepare the so-called main tourist season, define the optimal network of new airlines in the region and beyond, it is to be expected that other necessary things like licensing the permit, staffing and completion of other necessary activities, will be completed in the next two months and the planes of the new company will take off by the end of May or the beginning of June at the latest “, explained Damjanović.

Otherwise, the delay, as he concluded, would cost a lot and would again raise the question of whether Montenegro has the economic power or luxury to own its own national airline.