Serbia, The time has come for changes and reforms in the energy sector

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The time has come for changes and reforms in the energy sector. The oft-repeated sentence could really become a reality soon. The Government of Serbia has consulted with world experts and now it only remains to be seen who will take over the “wheel” and drive, let’s say EPS, to a “better tomorrow”? More and more often it is heard that foreigners will do that too, when they were already consultants, but the question arises – is foreign really the best?

It has been a logical, common knowledge thing for years – energy, public companies need professional management, which is impossible to get. Even the current government announced it loudly a decade ago. And nothing. But here it is, arriving at the Electric Power Company of Serbia, they announce again.

“It’s always been, sometimes party bullshit, sometimes the bullshit of insufficiently capable people, sometimes the bullshit of people who couldn’t know it all and great – at least we admitted to ourselves that we don’t know, and we know who does,” said Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić .

The one who knows was found in Norway, because apparently there are none in Serbia. Or is there?

“I know several of them personally, primarily because of their expertise and because they would not listen to what they are told from political circles, therefore, they would not be subject to political pressure,” believes energy expert Miodrag Kapor.

However, the decision-makers seem to have not heard of those “resilient” that Kapor knows. But they did for the consulting company “Rystad Energy”, so they chose it as a partner in the reform process.

However, whether that company will choose professional management and whether and when the current leadership in public companies will be replaced by foreigners, there is no official confirmation for now. One can only guess.

“I think that “Rejstad” or “Rajstad”, whatever you want, is today the best house in the whole world for analyzing the energy situation, for taking measures…” said Vučić.

The fact that a foreigner is at the head of the company is not a guarantee that it will be successful, but what matters is whether that person will have free hands to build his team and fulfill the plan, according to economic analyst Jelica Putniković.

“And that he has responsibility, if he doesn’t fulfill it.” And I think that it is a much better option for them to be local experts, because they know the economic and energy situation in Serbia, and yet, people who would come from abroad, they would need a lot of time to learn all that,” says Putniković.

According to Putniković’s unofficial information, the Norwegians are aware of this, so they invited many of our experts from the country or the “white world” to the delegation for cooperation with Serbia as consultants – subcontractors.

“Which means that Serbia has energy experts and they could come and help, so to speak, the energy industry to rise to a higher level and to complete the energy transition that has been going on for the third decade in our country,” added Putniković. 

Examples from the past remind us that the epithet “100 percent foreign” does not automatically mean “100 percent success.”

“Let me remind the viewers, we already had a situation with the ironworks in Smederevo, where we had so-called professional management from another country, so they left huge losses. “I wouldn’t like it to happen now, but I don’t see any reason why something like that shouldn’t happen again,” assesses Kapor.

Foreigners or not, in Kapor’s opinion, the most important thing is that the management has a motive to run the company successfully, as well as the transparency of the selection in the competition, instead of the previous direct, political bargain with a company, so that we know who is really the best choice, he notes, N1 writes.

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