Bane Spasović, Mayor Of Požarevac:

People Are Our Strongest Trump Card

I expect Požarevac to improve agriculture substantially, to raise the level of foreign direct investment and support local business

Bane Spasovic

After several years Požarevac is working according to a precisely defined sustainable development strategy or, to put it simply, in accordance with its adopted five-year plan. As mayor Bane Spasović explains to CorD, the emphasis is especially on business, traffic, building infrastructure and environmental and social protection, but the strategy is also concerned with issues of cultural development, sport education…

“The strategy also provides for a quay on the Danube, which introduces one of our greatest advantages. We want to present our tourism potential in Serbia and the region and become an important destination in Serbia, which is also planned in the strategy. By investing in the race track and the Ljubičevo stud farm, we intend in the coming years to become a sports riding centre, not only in Serbia and the Balkans but in the whole of south-east Europe. The bearing element of that project is our Ljubičevo horse games, which the state has supported in recent years thanks to president Aleksandar Vučić, who opened the last games”.

What concrete advantages for investors does your town have over other municipalities?

– I think our main trumps cards are our people, or rather the special team formed in the local administration whose purpose is to serve anyone wanting to invest in our town. We also have greenfield and brownfield sites with complete infrastructure, and the advantage is a clear business incentives plan. Then there is the exceptionally important good geographical location, proximity to the motorway and industrious people. All this has brought the first results. Immofinanz from Austria will open the retail park Stop Shop here, employing 300 people, and the Turkish Ringelsan is making the final preparations for opening a factory in Požarevac which they say will employ over 1,000.

Požarevac is one of three towns in Serbia with a local economic development plan that defines incentives for business

At one time Požarevac received the grand prix in cooperation through IPA projects, through the Danube business forum. How much does the development of Požarevac depend on European and domestic funds and projects, and how much can the town finance its own development?

– “European and domestic funds are exceptionally important for the development of Požarevac, above all because they bring resources for projects that either are quite costly for our budget or lie in fields that we are not responsible for as a local authority. For example, in 2017 we worked with the Agency for Public Investment to completely renovate the Jovan Cvijić primary school in Kostolac, to a total value of around 100 million dinars, then we as a city invested around 200 million more in improving the working conditions in schools and kindergartens. As a town, we are not responsible for secondary health care, but through IPA funds of about 4 million euros we will finance the completion of a new city hospital and become a centre for diagnostics and healing of malignant diseases. As for primary health care, we are investing considerable funds this year in the local health centre and in this way we are doing all we can for Požarevac to become a model environment for Serbia.