Nela Vitić, MFIC BOD Member, Ocean Montenegro CEO

We Need To Recognise Our Potential And Use It Well

We are encouraged by the inclusive approach to work on the Digital Transformation Strategy, as well as the readiness of all participants – from the public and private sectors and the academic and scientific communities – to provide their maximum contribution to achieving a common good

The MFIC mission is to advance the investment climate and help business development in Montenegro, as well as to promote communication and cooperation between the Council and official bodies in Montenegro. “Through a high-quality dialogue with all relevant institutions in the country, we have promoted shared interests and contributed to the further growth of foreign direct investment,” says MFIC BoD member and Ocean Montenegro CEO Nela Vitić.

According to our interlocutor, MFIC has used numerous opportunities to date to highlight the necessity of the existence of a predictable business environment and the rule of law, and with that the fight against corruption and crime, as basic prerequisites for the further improvement of the business environment and conducting all business activities.

From the perspective of your company, how would you assess respect for the rule of law in Montenegro?

– You’ve already reported on the fact that the former Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs introduced several concessionaires for piloting, tugging and towing in the waters of the Port of Bar, despite European practices and recommendations.

Among other things, this sent a message of legal uncertainty to credible investors. It is interesting that during the public debate, in response to our reminder of European practice and EU legislation, the then director of the Maritime Safety Directorate twice reiterated that Montenegro doesn’t yet have to comply with European rules, or that the Ministry will, despite that revelation, act in a manner that directly contradicts EU practice and legislation. Everyone can today see that we were correct in our analyses, which showed that the state of Montenegro would not benefit from introducing multiple concessionaires. In that case, we felt “on our skin” the lack of the rule of law and a weak judiciary. We cannot bring back the past, but those must be lessons that we learn from.

We are delighted by the Government’s strategic commitment to placing the rule of law and the fight against corruption and crime at the top of its agenda. The state will have strong MFIC support in this work

The Montenegrin economy was heavily dependent on tourism revenues in the previous period. To what extent is it now ready for the green economy, digital transformation and diversification?

– The Montenegrin economy will continue to rely heavily on tourism, but the economy mustn’t be allowed to depend on it entirely. That was also demonstrated by this pandemic situation. Diversification, as well as the green economy and digital transformation, are the route that we must take.

When it comes to readiness, I think we’re better prepared than it seems to many. We have developed infrastructure, a potent community of young innovative companies, new generations of experts, as well as a strong commitment of the public sector and an excellent regulatory framework. I’m sure that we’ll feel the real results of many years of work in just a few years. The digital transformation will impact positively on all industries and I believe the strategy that is being drafted, which MFIC is also participating in, will also recognise our potentials in the right way and provide a framework that will enable us to realise great aims.

We see digitalisation as a shared responsibility of the public and private sectors, with the support of the academic and scientific community. We are encouraged by the messages from the most recent digital summit of the Western Balkans and the inclusive work on the Digital Transformation Strategy, as well as the readiness of all participants to provide their maximum contribution to achieving a common good.

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