Serbia is recording ever better export results. How much does the AOFI contribute to these results, measured according to the volume of its activities?
– As an economic category, export carries with it a number of positive effects for the economy, thus the results achieved by the economy of the Republic of Serbia in this segment contribute to creating conditions for sustainable growth and development. Organised institutional state support for export is of great importance, because it strengthens the competitiveness of the country on foreign markets. The services of insuring and financing exports that AOFI provides to Serbian exporters represent a powerful and important instrument that impacts on the country’s overall economic growth and development. I can say that AOFI, with great support from the Ministry of the Economy, as the responsible Ministry, contributed greatly to promoting and increasing Serbian exports in the previous period by increasing its activities.
The AOFI will get involved in the process of supporting SMEs and will thereby join forces with the Ministry of the Economy of the Republic of Serbia, which is planning to declare the period ahead as the Decade of Entrepreneurship
To what extent did incentives applied during the Year of Entrepreneurship, coupled with your efforts to support SMEs, bear fruit in the form of increased exports of SMEs?
– If we analyse export-orientated companies in the sector of SMEs and entrepreneurs in the Republic of Serbia, we can conclude that the biggest problem faced is represented by a lack of access to sources of funding. A lack of funding sources, both for working capital and investment, prevents their continuous growth and development, and thus the growth and development of the Serbian economy as a whole. The importance of this segment of the economy was recognised by the Government of the Republic of Serbia, which declared 2016 the Year of Entrepreneurship, and the AOFI, while implementing the government’s programmes, exerted maximum efforts that resulted in an increase in the share of SMEs and entrepreneurs in the Agency’s portfolio by over 30 per cent, which also resulted in increasing the exports of these companies.
What kinds of goals have you set for yourself for 2017?
– Considering the good results achieved by the AOFI during 2016, as well as the fact that we successfully implemented all incentive programmes envisaged for the Year of Entrepreneurship, the targets during 2017 will not change “dramatically” compared to the previous period, with the exception of the part related to stronger support for SMEs and entrepreneurs by broadening its existing product portfolio and revising current interest rates that should provide Serbian exporters with a strong competitive position on existing markets and enable them to possibly conquer new, primarily fast-growing, markets.
Are you considering new incentive instruments under the auspices of your mandate?
– Considering that the SME and entrepreneur sector is recognised as a generator of economic growth, and in particular the export-orientated part, and that the Ministry of the Economy of the Republic of Serbia plans to declare the period ahead as the Decade of Entrepreneurship, it is certain that the AOFI will also be involved in this process.