When Čedomir Janjić, a graduate economist, became the mayor of Zrenjanin, a city that represents the centre of the economy, culture and sport of the Banat region, he said that he intends to turn this place into a construction site. In this interview for CorD, he says that he thinks this promise has been fulfilled and that this city, which in terms of administrative territory is the largest city in Vojvodina and the second largest in Serbia, is now in a far better economic position than it was three years ago.- When it comes to attracting investments and employment, I think we’ve made great progress. We’ve sold thirteen plots in the industrial zones, several production halls have been created in the industrial zones and we are in negotiations with several other companies, primarily foreign. All of this, of course, results in a reduction in the number of unemployed citizens. Moreover, it should be noted that in the previous period we resurfaced 80 kilometres of roadways and 13 kilometres of cycle lanes, while we continued construction of the sewage system in several occupied areas, and launched it in others. Among other things, we have opened four sports hall/gymnasiums in four populated areas, and with all this in mind I can say that I am satisfied.
According to information that can be treated as official, German company Tönnies is set to open a pig farm in the vicinity of Zrenjanin and is investing more than 20 million euros in that job. Do you have more precise information of when implementation can be expected, and what does this investment mean for your city?
– I don’t have precise information about when that job will start, but I know that Tönnies will invest 25 million euros and up to 70 workers will be employed on that farm, and that the farm will work in cooperation with private individuals from the surrounding area. That’s good news for Zrenjanin, because it’s an investment in agriculture and I’m sure there will be even more such investments, and I know there is existing interest among domestic farmers and companies to invest in that branch of the economy.
One of the priorities of the local administration I head is to reduce the number of unemployed citizens
In the former Yugoslavia, Zrenjanin was ranked at the very top in terms of success and standard of its residents. According to your estimates, where is Zrenjanin today compared to those years, which many people have a tendency to glorify?
– Zrenjanin was known as a great “food factory”, but its production capacities were designed to cater for the market of the former state, with over 20 million inhabitants. The collapse of Yugoslavia inevitably imposed major economic transformations and, unfortunately, many unsuccessful privatisations at the beginning of this century, which led to the closures of numerous production facilities in our city. It was necessary to resort to a new way of thinking, so Zrenjanin was among the first cities in Serbia to launch projects for opening new, fully equipped industrial zones and attracting investors, along with various benefits and the efficient work of the administration.
We are glad that the investors already operating in our zones are satisfied and that some of them are expanding their capacities, as is the case with Germany’s Draexlmaier and Italian company Fulgar, but also domestic company Gomeks and UM-ING. It is difficult to compare the position of the economy of Zrenjanin today to the way it once was, but the fact remains that the city is currently one of the most attractive centres for investing in Serbia, which is also recognised internationally, and that our activities are directed towards it being a good place to live, with all of the amenities demanded by life in the 21st century.“