Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said in Vranje on Tuesday that the tobacco industry is among the most successful branches in Serbia.
And 11 percent of the total tax revenues in the budget are paid by Britsh American Tobacco BAT) and Philip Morris, Brnabic said, according to her remarks published by the Serbian government.
At the celebration of 15 years of BAT’s business in Vranje, Brnabic said that the tobacco industry also has a significant foreign trade surplus, and that the export of cigarettes from Serbia has increased six times in the last seven years.
Both large factories are in the south of central Serbia, where jobs and investments are most important and most needed, she pointed out added that BAT invested EUR 270 million.
The prime minister also stated that BAT is one of the companies that are recognized as socially responsible, announcing that the Serbian government will help develop its business and through the establishment of legal frameworks for favorable business in our country.
BAT Serbia General Manager Sotiros Kostouros said that this company is one of the largest British investors in Serbia, and that satisfactory dialogue with the state has been established over the past 15 years.
Director of the BAT factory in Vranje Richard Vredenberg pointed out that the productivity in the factory in Vranje increased four times, and that in the past five years there were no accidents at work.
Ana Brnabic visited also visited on Tuesday the company Philip Morris in Nis, which in September 2003 privatized the largest Serbian tobacco factory DIN, and to this day remained the largest American, and among the ten largest foreign investments in Serbia.
Brnabic reminded that this company employs 900 workers directly and 3,000 indirectly, and that it not only brings money to Serbia, but also the knowledge, technology and work system that remains in our country and flows into other branches of the economy.
“This company is one of the most desirable employers in Serbia and an excellent partner of the government of Serbia and the City of Nis,” emphasized the prime minister, adding that Serbia will do everything that Philip Morris will continue to do business in our country.
Philip Morris with the initial investment of USD 520 million was the largest direct foreign investment in the period 2003-2004. and then continued to invest in modernization and development of production, as well as in expanding production and storage capacities.
Brnabic particularly pointed out that the company is located in Nis and that this is an important part of the decentralization plan and the balanced regional development of Serbia, by which the government is trying to reduce the migration to Belgrade and Novi Sad.
The previous government launched the initiative to get Nis on its feet as a regional center of southern Serbia and I think that we have succeeded in that by bringing new investors and creating new jobs. By the end of the year, the construction of a science and technology center will begin. This will all contribute to the return of the epithet of the center of the electronic industry to Nis, said Brnabic.
She also stated that in Nis, in the first phase, 2,400 apartments are built for security personnel.
According to Brnabic, “we are also investing in Kraljevo, Loznica, Prokuplje and other cities throughout Serbia.”