Law Office Tasić& Partners is one of the few which has specialised, among other things, in public-private partnership. How do you assess the effectiveness of implementation of these laws in practice?
– Although the institutional and regulatory framework for PPPs was set back in 2011, with the aim of creating an adequate environment to attract private investment, implementation of the law has had a relatively limited application. So far, 30 small and mediumsized PPP projects have been approved in various municipal areas -public transport, energy, waste, etc., while major infrastructure projects, implemented on the basis of bilateral agreements, bypass the existing legal framework. Analysis of PPP projects implemented so far, bearing in mind that these are not all of the projects that have been approved, shows that the maximum efficiency has been achieved in the field of public transport, where it seems that a model has been found that improves the quality of services, and whose creation also included participation of the office Tasić&Partners through the pioneering PPP project implemented in the city of Niš.
A large number of companies, especially foreign investors, show interest in various forms of public-private partnerships, but these arrangements have not yet fully come to life in Serbia. As experts in this field, where do you see the main stumbling blocks?
– Foreign capital always seeks a clear legal framework and a guarantee of the protection of investments. In this sense, inconsistency of the legal framework that touches PPP, vague and contradictory interpretations of regulations, are certainly influential when it comes to the adoption of final decisions on investing. What further complicates this matter is the unpreparedness of local government (primarily a lack of staff and a clear institutional structure) to select and also effectively manage all aspects of PPP projects.
We offer our clients in private and public sector a whole package of services and legal assistance at all stages of PPP projects, to the final phase of specific project
The Serbian government expects these projects to be among the leaders of the future development of Serbia. How do you assess the potential of these projects?
– From the initial relatively “timid” approach to this way of financing projects, progress has been made when it comes not only to the number of approved and implemented projects, but also the diversity of the areas in which they have been launched. In this regard, the potential of the projects is exceptionally high, if it is understood that PPP provides the ability to simultaneously achieve savings in the budget and implement public needs for the reconstruction of infrastructure and improvement of services and savings, all of which can lead, directly or indirectly, to improving the living standard for citizens, and without additional government borrowing.
What does Law Office Tasić& Partners specifically offer its clients in this and other forms of corporate affairs?
– We offer our clients in private and public sector a whole package of services and legal assistance at all stages of PPP projects, to the final phase of specific project. Our commitment and dedication in representing clients in PPP projects have been recognised by the international independent guide IFLR1000 (International Financial Law Review) for the field of Energy and Infrastructure in 2016, where our office is ranked as one of the leading law firms in the field.