Deputy Prime Minister for European integration Bozidar Djelic, Minister of Economy and Regional Development Nebojsa Ciric and Governor of the National Bank of Serbia Dejan Soskic yesterday signed two agreements worth €750 million with European Investment Bank (EIB) Vice President Dario Scannapieco and Director General of Fiat Automobili Srbija Giovanni de Filippis.
Following the signing in Luxembourg, Djelic told Tanjug that the first agreement worth €250 million refers to financing SMEs, while the second, totalling €500 million, concerns Fiat’s investment in Serbia.
The Deputy Prime Minister observed that the EIB is affirming its status as Serbia’s key strategic financial partner in the building of an export economy, infrastructure, fight against poverty and creation of an economy of knowledge.
Serbia’s export economy has thus received considerable financial assistance worth totally around €750 million.
As for financial terms, they are the best we can get at the moment, with loans granted for a period of up to twelve years, with a four year grace period and an annual interest rate of 4–5%, Djelic specified.
He said that these financial funds will help Serbian companies to compete with their competition in the European and global markets under equal conditions, voicing his hope that the programme will have a significant effect on the creation of new jobs and export increase.
Minister Ciric stressed that these agreements are important for the development of the Serbian economy and export, pointing to the weight which the €500 million investment will have and which will be invested in Fiat and Serbia’s joint company.
This sufficiently shows the seriousness of what we have accomplished so far and proves that by the end of the year we will have a new car model, while in March or April 2012 we will achieve full serial production of around 200,000 cars a year, the Minister observed.
A portion of the funds from the APEX IV agreement of €80 million will be used for the development of the car industry, that is, companies which produce car components.
Scannapieco said that the agreements signed today will support Serbia’s economic development and expressed satisfaction with the fact that this is the fourth time that the EIB signs an agreement on financing small and medium-sized enterprises with Serbia.
He recalled that a similar agreement, APEX III, was signed in May 2009, worth €250 million and was also intended for the SMEs sector.
Scannapieco underlined that the second agreement financed by the EIB is very important and is the biggest foreign direct investment in Serbia in 2011 and should encourage the restart of the Serbian industry.
Soskic said that the agreements signed today are a good step ahead in Serbia’s export-oriented development concept.
He explained that the first tranche of APEX IV worth €150 million will be available this year and the second tranche of €100 million next year.
The NBS Governor specified that the funds will be used for construction of factories, employment and increase of exports and €30 million will be used as assistance to the media.
Under the contract related to Fiat, Serbia will give €200 million in guarantees and the remaining €300 million in guarantees will be given by Fiat and the Italian insurance agency Sace.
These funds will finance the biggest part of construction of the car factory in Kragujevac, which could ensure exports worth up to €1.4 billion to Serbia.