Despite the overall economic situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MFIC member companies continued to invest, create jobs and regularly service all of their financial obligations, thus supporting Montenegro’s economic recovery. Fruitful cooperation with the Montenegrin Government ensured that state policy measures were aligned with the interest of the business community to support further reforms and new avenues of growth
The pandemic hasn’t stopped the work of the Montenegrin Foreign Investors’ Council. On the contrary, as this short overview of activities shows, the past year proved to be very productive.
WORKING TOGETHER TO FURTHER DEVELOP E-SERVICES
Montenegrin Minister of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media, Tamara Srzentić, met with MFIC representatives to discuss concrete activities that need to be implemented in order to improve digital business and achieve the greater efficiency and transparency of public services.
The Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media listens carefully to the needs of the business community, in order to reduce bureaucracy and simplify procedures with the aim of further developing the digital economy and thus building an administration that is service-orientated and based on the needs of citizens and the economy, highlighted Minister Srzentić.
MFIC will be a dedicated partner to the Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media in the digital transformation of business processes and the further encouraging of digitalisation and the development of e-services.
GOVERNMENT WILL BE A RELIABLE PARTNER
Montenegrin Deputy Prime Minister Dritan Abazović met with Christoph Schoen, President of the Montenegrin Foreign Investors’ Council, and MFIC BoD members Nela Vitić, Pál Kovács, Ivan Bojanović, David Margason and MFIC Executive Director Ivan Radulović.
Deputy PM Abazović stated that Montenegro is a country of opportunities and, although the situation with the novel coronavirus is extremely specific, he is of the opinion that this is still the right time to invest in Montenegro.
“We are open to investors and want to send you a clear message that you have a reliable partner,” highlighted Abazović.
MFIC offered further support to the reform process, modernisation and digitalisation of society.
FURTHER IMPROVEMENT OF DIGITALISATION PROCESS NEEDED IN MONTENEGRO
A meeting of the ICT Committee of the Montenegrin Foreign Investors’ Council was held on 12th March and included discussion of priority measures for improving the digitalisation process in Montenegro, with proposals submitted to the Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media.
The meeting also saw further activities agreed, as well as the need to define medium- and long-term measures that will be determined in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media.
Members of the MFIC ICT Committee expressed their satisfaction with the cooperation established with the Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media.
ELIMINATING BUSINESS BARRIERS NEEDS TO CONTINUE
MFIC representatives met with Montenegrin Minister for Economic Development Jakov Milatovic and his associates on 19th March. The meeting provided an opportunity for representatives of the largest companies in the telecommunications, tourism and internal trade sectors to inform the minister about the challenges confronting them.
11TH SESSION OF THE COMPETITIVENESS COUNCIL
At its 11th session, chaired by the MFIC President and Economic Development Minister Jakov Milatović, the Competitiveness Council discussed the findings and recommendations of the MFIC White Book: Investment Climate in Montenegro 2020.
The recommendations contained in the book refer to the more efficient implementation of reforms in the area of digitalisation, further steps towards improving tax procedures, modernisation of the work of the cadastral register and notary services, the continuation of work on creating the basis for further investments in infrastructure, growth and labour market flexibility, improving the work of the administration and increasing its efficiency, as well as further simplifying fiscal policy at the local level.
PRESENTATION OF THE 11TH EDITION OF THE MFIC WHITE BOOK
The Ease of Doing Business Index for Montenegro fell significantly last year compared to 2019, due to the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Montenegrin economy and tourism sector, said MFIC President Christoph Schoen.
Speaking at the presentation of the 11th edition of the White Book, he said that last year was characterised by huge challenges caused directly by the global crisis resulting from the pandemic, but which had existed before and were intensifying.
As Schoen explained, “the vulnerability of the Montenegrin economy became particularly pronounced due to the country’s strong focus on tourism, so it’s no surprise that its standing on the Ease of Doing Business Index fell significantly compared to 2019. We cannot undo damage caused in the past, but we must do our best to emerge from the crisis as soon as possible. We need to focus on a timely dialogue between all stakeholders in order to provide full support to improving business.”
MONTENEGRIN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER DRITAN ABAZOVIĆ ATTENDED THE PRESENTATION OF THE 11TH EDITION OF THE MFIC WHITE BOOK
Deputy PM Abazović announced that he was very satisfied that excellent cooperation and communication between the Government and MFIC was continuing, noting that the Government had held several meetings with MFIC during the previous period.
MFIC PRESIDENT AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MEET WITH UK AMBASSADOR TO MONTENEGRO
MFIC President Christoph Schoen and Executive Director Ivan Radulovic met with the British Ambassador to Montenegro, H.E. Karen Maddocks, and Deputy Head of the UK Mission, Steve Arrick, on 15th April.
The meeting provided an opportunity to exchange views on the country’s current conditions for doing business and business obstacles hindering foreign investors. MFIC representatives informed their guests about the latest White Book recommendations and further activities within the Competitiveness Council.
MEETING OF THE WORKING GROUP FOR THE ELIMINATION OF BUSINESS BARRIERS TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF ELECTRONIC SERVICES IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR
MFIC Executive Director Ivan Radulovic chaired a meeting of the Working Group for the elimination of business barriers to the development of electronic services in the private sector.
Members of the Working Group exchanged information regarding the implementation status of the measures defined by the Action Plan.
The Action Plan will be amended, with activities aimed at fostering the digital transformation process and introducing new electronic services for citizens and the economy.
CONSULTATION MEETING REGARDING PREPARATION OF THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION STRATEGY OF MONTENEGRO 2022-2026
MFIC Regulatory Policy Committee President Ljudmila Popović Kavaja participated in the initial consultation meeting regarding preparation of the Digital Transformation Strategy of Montenegro 2022-2026, Cyber Security Strategy of Montenegro 2022-2026 and public debate consultations with regard to the preparing of amendments to the Law on Electronic Document, organised by the Montenegrin Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media.
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING SIGNED BETWEEN MIA AND MFIC
Director of the Montenegrin Investment Agency (MIA), Dejan Medojevic, and President of the Montenegrin Foreign Investors’ Council, Christoph Schoen, signed a Memorandum of Cooperation between the MIA and MFIC on 11th May.
The MIA director pointed out that cooperation with the MFIC will be based on the principles of partnership, transparency, responsibility and mutual exchange of information. He also emphasised the importance achieved to date through the contribution provided by MFIC via the work of the Competitiveness Council, in which the Montenegrin Investment Agency also participates.
MEETING BETWEEN MFIC, MASTERCARD REPRESENTATIVES AND THE MINISTRY OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION, DIGITAL SOCIETY AND MEDIA
MFIC Executive Director Ivan Radulović and Mastercard representatives Jelena Ristić, Country Manager for Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina, Olga Dedović, Account Manager, and Marko Rizovski, Acceptance Development Manager, held a 12th May meeting with Marina Banović, state secretary at the Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media, and her colleagues in order to discuss future cooperation.
The MFIC and Mastercard representatives showed their full support for the implementation of reforms aimed at introducing electronic services and simplifying conditions for doing business.
INTRODUCTION OF MMM IN MONTENEGRO
A meeting was held on 12th May with the EBRD Capital Markets Development team, comprising Selma Demirović, Gary Mclean, Jim Turnbull and Nino Shanshiashvili, on the potential introduction of the Money Market Development to Montenegro.
The meeting was also attended by MFIC Executive Director Ivan Radulović, CK Bank representatives Dražen Stanković and Bojan Božić, Central Bank of Montenegro representative Jelena Jankovic and representative of the Secretariat to the Competitiveness Council of Montenegro, Ana Stojanović.
CONSULTATION MEETING ORGANISED BY THE MINISTRY OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION, DIGITAL SOCIETY AND MEDIA TO ADDRESS THE PREPARATION OF THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION STRATEGY 2022-2026
MFIC Regulatory Policy Committee President Ljudmila Popović Kavaja participated in a consultation meeting organised by the Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media to address the preparation of the Digital Transformation Strategy 2022-2026.
MFIC BECOMES A MEMBER OF UNICEF’S BUSINESS COUNCIL
Montenegrin Foreign Investors’ Council President Christoph Schoen signed the Founding Act of the UNICEF Business Council on behalf of MFIC.
The goal of the UNICEF Business Council for the Rights of the Child is to directly invest funds intended for children through easier coordination and joint actions of the private sector and UNICEF that will contribute to resolving priority issues related to the rights of the child.
12TH SESSION OF THE COMPETITIVENESS COUNCIL
The 12th session of the Competitiveness Council, held on 30th June and chaired by the Council’s President and Montenegrin Economic Development Minister Jakov Milatović, saw the adopting of the initiative of the Montenegrin Foreign Investors’ Council regarding the redetermining of the fee for collectively exercising copyrights as defined by the Law on Copyright and Related Rights.
The Competitive Council also adopted the responses of relevant institutions to the recommendations of the MFIC White Book: Investment Climate in Montenegro 2020.
FOLLOW-UP MEETING ON MONEY MARKET DEVELOPMENT
MFICrepresentatives held on a follow-up meeting on Money Market Development in Montenegro 19th July.
The MFIC leadership expressed thanks to their colleagues from the EBRD Capital Markets Development team, Gary Mclean and Jim Turnbull, as well as Dr Peter M. Werner from ISDA, for their constructive dialogue and support.
MFIC DONATES 10,000 EUROS TO PODGORICA HEALTH CENTRE
Following confirmation of a donation of 10,000 euros to the Podgorica Health Centre, MFIC BoD Member Ivan Bojanovic said that he hoped the donation would contribute to health workers in the adapted facilities having even better working conditions and citizens receiving an even better service.
“During the previous months of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve all been convinced of how important it is to have a health system that is fast, efficient, functional and modern-equipped,” said Bojanović.
He expressed particular gratitude to the MFIC member companies that responded to the call to participate in the donation, namely Crnogorski Telekom, CKB Bank, Delta M, Domen, Fly Montenegro Ground Handling, Lovćen Osiguranje AD Podgorica, Ocean Montenegro and Saga CG.
MEETING HELD WITH AMBASSADOR OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA
Montenegrin Foreign Investors’ Council President Christoph Schoen, MFIC BoD Member Ivan Bojanović and MFIC Executive Director Ivan Radulović met with the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Mochammad Chandra Widya Yudha, Head of Economic Affairs at the Embassy, Tri Aryadi, and Indonesian Defence Attache Sri Adi Trio Wayhu Pramono.
The meeting provided an opportunity to exchange opinions on the conditions in the business environment in Montenegro, MFIC activities, developments in the tourism sector and possibilities of improving economic cooperation between Montenegro and Indonesia.
FIRST MEETING OF THE COUNCIL FOR ELECTRONIC PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION MFIC
MFIC BoD members met with representatives of the International Monetary Fund during the IMF team’s Article IV mission to Montenegro on 11th November.
The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss and exchange views on business environment conditions and foreign investments, the minimum wage, social contributions and taxes, tax reforms and the framework for countering money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
MEETING WITH IMF REPRESENTATIVES
Regulatory Policy Committee President Ljudmila Popović Kavaja participated in the first meeting of the Council for Electronic Public Administration, chaired by Montenegrin Public Administration, Digital Society and Media Minister Tamara Srzentić.
Speaking at the meeting, Minister Srzentić noted that digital services must be tailored to the needs of citizens.
Future activities will focus on the development of electronic services for citizens, improving the interoperability of government services, as well as greater promotion of existing electronic services already available to citizens.
MEETING WITH EUROPEAN COMMISSION REPRESENTATIVES
Montenegrin Foreign Investors’ Council President Christoph Schoen, MFIC BoD members David Margason and Maja Krstić, and MFIC Executive Director Ivan Radulović met with European Commission representatives Antonio Sanchez, Krzysztof Zurek and Vera Kadas during their 2022 ERP mission.
The meeting was an opportunity to discuss and exchange opinions regarding key structural challenges, such as the country’s high unemployment rate, administrative burdens and informalities hindering the business operations of foreign investors.