Economy and donors support campaign to counter the shadow economy

The National Programme to Counter the Shadow Economy

The Serbian Government’s Coordination Body tasked with directing activities on countering the shadow economy has held its first session at the Palace of Serbia, at which members discussed the implementing of priority measures of the National Programme to Counter the Shadow Economy, which will contribute to ensuring fair and stimulating conditions for doing business and employment.

Serbian Finance Minister Dusan Vujovic noted that the basic aim of the Serbian Government and the National Programme to Counter the Shadow Economy is to return at least a billion euros into legal channels in the next five years.

Speaking at the session, which was attended by representatives of more than 20 companies, relevant government institutions, delegations of the EU, USAID, GIZ and embassies, Minister Vujovic assessed that the systemic approach to the development of the National Programme had already yielded tangible results in the first half of the year, considering that plan for revenue collection had been exceeded by 80 billion dinars, almost half of which is attributed to results in efforts to reduce the grey zone.

Serbian Minister of State Administration and Local Self-Government, Ana Brnabic, insisted that the introduction of the Law on Inspection Oversight had contributed to the good results by influencing an increase in the number of newly-established enterprises by nearly 19 per cent compared to the period prior to this law’s application. She added that the key to further successes in the fight against the shadow economy would be next year’s implementation of software for networking inspections (e-inspector), with the adopted laws on taxes and charges.

Goran Pitic, presiding over the Alliance for Fair Competition – the NALED body that brings together the biggest socially responsible companies – pointed out that the campaign is essential because 84 per cent of citizens support the fight against the shadow economy, but fewer than 5 per cent participate.

Aleksandar Ruzevic, member of the NALED Managing Board and General Manager of Coca-Cola HBC, emphasised that experience shows that educational campaigns have a significant impact, which is why it is important that the economy and international organisations support the activities of the Serbian Government, which his company and other members of the Alliance for Fair Competition will do.