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Serbian finances are stable, public debt under control - Serbia Business

Serbian finances are stable, public debt under control

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Serbian public finances are stable, public debt is fully under control, Serbian Finance Minister Siniša Mali saidtoday at a meeting with representatives of the International Monetary Fund as part of the first review of the current standby arrangement, which began today.

He added that the first quarter ended with positive indicators and that Serbia continued to grow despite all the challenges.

Summarizing the previous year, as well as the first quarter of this year, the minister reported that there was a record inflow of foreign direct investments and a historically low unemployment rate.

Donal McGettigen, who heads the IMF mission in Serbia, said that it is important that, when it comes to expenditures, funds are spent on public investments that contribute to further economic growth.

Mali and McGettigen also discussed the situation in the energy sector, and Mali pointed out that a lot has been done in that area in the last few months, and that Serbia expects large investments in this sector in the coming years, reports the website of the Government of Serbia. 

He presented that, in addition to large investments, work is also underway on a plan for the strategic restructuring of Elektroprivreda Serbia, so that in the coming years that company would not represent a fiscal risk for the budget. 

According to him, today it can be stated that during the winter season, not as much gas was consumed as was expected, as well as that the lease of the warehouse in Hungary was extended for an additional 12 months. 

He emphasized that Serbia is on the right track as far as the goals in the field of energy from the current arrangement are concerned. 

Mali, when it comes to the state of the budget, stated that the needs for financing the budget for this year are covered, noting that due to global challenges we have space, i.e. so-called “buffers” in the budget, in case it is necessary for the state to somehow reacts. 

He indicated that he is currently dealing with the year 2024 in terms of financing future obligations, but also that the Government’s intention is to continue with large investments in public investments, stressing that the most important thing is to find new sources of growth in this regard.

Also, Mali said that the process of transformation and modernization of the Tax Administration is making excellent progress, as well as that the administration will soon get a new building, reminding that the projects of new e-fiscalization and e-invoices have been successfully completed, as well as that businessmen will be able to VAT refund.

The interlocutors also discussed the progress of the “Iskra” project, which includes a centralized salary system, and noted that one of the goals of the program, which concerns the inclusion of the education sector, has been met, with over 1,800 institutions in the system.

The stand-by arrangement was approved for Serbia on December 19, 2022, and aims to preserve macroeconomic and financial stability, strengthen the economy’s resilience in the face of the global energy crisis, and encourage sustainable growth.

The IMF mission will stay in Belgrade until April 4.

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