Aleksandar Ružević, Chairman Of The NALED Management Board And General Manager Of Coca-Cola HBC Serbia And Montenegro:

Who Are Tax Heroes?

The Kopaonik Business Forum confirmed that the reform agenda has been well established and that it features the most important issues for improving conditions for doing business – the corporatisation of public companies, the development of eGovernment and digitisation, infrastructure, rule of law, education etc

The idea that I would single out, however, was posed in the form of a question during the panel on tax system reform – if we can see who owes the most tax twice a year, why don’t we also have a list of the best taxpayers?

The NALED Fair Competition Alliance proposed the introduction of a White List – publicly available records of the companies that show the highest level of business responsibility and tax culture by fully settling all obligations towards the state and employees within legal deadlines. Such a measure also found its way into the first action plan of the National Programme for Combating the Grey Economy. It is evident that the economy wants this list, which is why we will propose, as part of amendments to the Law on Inspection Supervision, that companies which have never had violations be less exposed to controls and receive the possibility of passing more swiftly through administrative procedures, by which will free them from unnecessary costs, but also help the state to directe limited inspectorate resources towards those who really do business in the grey zone.

The NALED Fair Competition Alliance proposed the introduction of a White List – publicly available records of the companies that show the highest level of business responsibility and tax culture by fully settling all obligations towards the state and employees within legal deadlines

I would highlight the example of 13 companies that this year supported the implementation of an educational campaign in the Year of Combating the Grey Economy. They contributed nearly a billion euros in taxes to the budget in 2017 and employ 25,000 workers. That represents every tenth dinar that the state uses to invest in improving quality of life for citizens. There are lots of responsible companies that can boast of the fact that by paying taxes they have helped Serbia gain everything that makes a country a good place to live – better health, education, infrastructure and public services. A White List would mean a big change. By highlighting the tax heroes, we place the emphasis on the best that we have and give adequate recognition and reward for responsible behaviour, and proper role models for society.

And this isn’t only an incentive for us as an individual business, but also for our partner network and the engagement of local companies, or, in our specific case, more than 70 companies with production facilities in Serbia. In this way, through good projects, our company alone manages to support more than 3,000 jobs.

Moreover, as a company that’s strategically committed to the education of young people and retaining them in Serbia, ideas in this field, as well as creativity, and consequently the development of the entrepreneurial spirit, are very close to us, but also important as confirmation of our long-term efforts. Digitisation and education have been a priority of the government in the previous year, which also coincides with the priorities of Schneider Electric, because in addition to supporting the Serbian electric power system, but also the entire economic environment, we believe that we create a better, sustainable future by investing in Serbian minds and young people. Proof of this is also provided by our development centre in Novi Sad, Schneider Electric DMS NS, which produces, thanks to Serbian experts, an original software solution for the management and control of energy distribution networks – ADMS software for the optimal distribution of electricity.

Digitisation and education have been a priority of the government in the previous year, which also coincides with the priorities of Schneider Electric…, but also the entire economic environment… we believe that we create a better, sustainable future by investing in Serbian minds and young people

The KBF set the framework for the Serbian economy again this year. I am more satisfied when I know that we as a company, like many other members of the French- Serbian Chamber of Commerce, have long been working within such frameworks, through the efficient education of employees and potential employees, as well as through our traditional focus towards introducing innovative operational models of business, expanding networks of local partners and participating in infrastructure projects.