At SAE’s 19th session of the Assembly, held on October 25, 2019, we marked 25 years of work and the topics discussed as the ultimate goal of all reforms that have been advocated by SAE and implemented with its active participation, show that the Serbian Association of Employers contributes to the development of a good business environment that can enable a better life for all citizens of Serbia.
Preventing young people from going abroad
Preventing young people from going abroad was the main topic of the 19th session of the Assembly of the Serbian Association of Employers. Among other things, this was addressed by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister Zorana Mihajlovic, who emphasized that by selecting its main topic, SAE has proven to be one of the few organizations that is considering where our country will be in the next twenty years in terms of labor deficit and that SAE’s voice should be heard even louder.
- The Serbian Association of Employers is recognized by the Government, it was stated at SAE’s Assembly, as an important partner for cooperation, especially as the only representative association of employers in Serbia and a social partner participating in the Social and Economic Council, and the need to implement initiatives, which have received a positive opinion of the Social and Economic Council, was stressed. The report on SAE’s work and action plan, submitted by the President of the SAE, Miloš Nenezić, highlighted the activities to relieve the economy through initiatives to improve working and business conditions in Serbia, the fight against the gray economy, with the aim of translating them into strategies and action plans, laws and bylaws.
- Reducing operating costs, optimizing administrative procedures, eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy, fighting against unfair competition and fighting against undeclared work are some of the tasks that are constantly on our agenda – said Miloš Nenezić when addressing the SAE Assembly.
- We will also insist on the education system that will emphasize the content aspect of education, with a focus on knowledge and skills that are adopted and developed in relation to formal education through which a diploma is obtained because it is one of the preconditions for optimal employment of young people in Serbia. Through joint engagement, dialogue and strong support of all social partners, the Serbian Association of Employers will initiate and support a comprehensive reform of the education system in the Republic of Serbia that will be in line with the needs of the economy and society as a whole and will be one of the most important pillars within the Industrial Policy Strategy Of Serbia and the Strategy of Economic Development of the Republic of Serbia until 2050.
Miloš Nenezić emphasized at the SAE Assembly that the reform of the education system should be the key policy of the National Strategy of the Republic of Serbia, within which the priorities of sustainable development of the economy, economy, technology, environment and society as a whole will be defined.
The Serbian Association of Employers marks 25 years of work in 2019 and the ultimate goal of all reforms that have been advocated by SAE and implemented with its active participation, show that the Serbian Association of Employers contributes to the development of a good business environment that can enable a better life for all citizens of Serbia.
At SAE’s Assembly, acknowledgements were received by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister Zorana Mihajlović, Ivan Đoković, Deputy Prime Minister and Provincial Secretary for Economy and Tourism, Miloš Jelić, Director of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce for Support of Membership in the System of Regional Chambers of Commerce and Chambers of Belgrade, Saša Vlaisavljević, Director of Nikola Tesla Airport, Dušan Petrović, Secretary of the Social and Economic Council of the Republic of Serbia, Bojan Smiljanić, Secretary General of the Economic and Social Council of the Republic of Srpska, Saša Aćić, Director of the Union of Employers of the Republic of Srpska, Duško Vuković, Vice President of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Serbia, Vlada Markanović, Director of Media Invent, Goran Aleksić, Executive Director of the business association of road traffic “Srbijatransport” and Mirko Vincetić, owner and director of the company IMO.
Report on SAE’s work in the past year
Over the past year, thanks to the proposals of SAE’s members and the efforts of SAE’s leadership, led by President Miloš Nenezić, several different initiatives have been submitted to improve working and business conditions in the Republic of Serbia, which have been translated into strategies, action plans, laws and bylaws.
• In a constant search for possible relief for the economy, SAE has successfully completed an action to amend the Law on Investments in a way that will allow domestic and foreign investors to be exempt from customs duties for the purchase of machines that are a share capital investment, as well, the new Regulation on the conditions, manner and procedure of exemption from customs and other duties on the import of equipment is in force since May.
These privileges came about by the initiatives of the Serbian Association of Employers, supported by representative unions, Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Serbia and UGS Nezavisnost, and under the auspices of the Social and Economic Council of the Republic of Serbia with the help of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and the Minister of Labor, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs, Zoran Đorđević.
Great contribution was also made by businessmen, members of SAE, who, based on their experience, pointed out possible reliefs of the economy.
• The Government of the Republic of Serbia has recognized SAE’s requests to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector, so through the Ministry of Economy and the Development Fund, grant programs have been implemented within the Entrepreneurship Encouragement Program through development projects, Small Business Support Program for Equipment Procurement, MSME Digital Transformation Support Program, Program for Implementation of Standardized Mentoring Service for SMEs implemented through accredited regional development agencies (ARRA).
Also, the Government recognized SAE’s requests for support of technological innovations, and through the Innovation Fund, offered programs for further development of SMEs – Early Development Program, Innovation Co-financing Program, Science and Economy Cooperation Program, Innovation Vouchers and others.
• As one of the most important initiatives, we would emphasize the initiative for the adoption of the National Strategy of the Republic of Serbia. With this initiative, SAE proposed the adoption of a strategy at the national level, which would define the long-term sustainable economic, social and institutional development of the Republic of Serbia, while preserving a healthy environment. The goal of the strategy is to stimulate the economic growth of the Republic of Serbia (with a clear definition of the key sectors on which the domestic economy will rely), and at the same time contribute to the balance of three pillars of sustainable development: sustainable development of economy, economy and technology, environmental protection with rational disposal of natural resources.
We believe that only in this way, the strategy would enable sustainable economic growth, which in addition to economic effects, technological progress and development of cleaner technologies, innovation of the whole society and socially responsible business, provides job creation and reduction of unemployment, reduction of gender and social inequalities, better long-term use of resources, improvement of health conditions and quality of life of citizens and protection of the environment.
• Due to SAE’s efforts, the burden on wages was reduced by eliminating the contribution in case of unemployment at the expense of the employer in the amount of 0.75%. Also, since January 2020, SAE has managed to influence certain tax reductions, so that the contribution to the Pension and Disability Insurance Fund has been reduced by 0.5% and the non-taxable part of the salary has been increased by 1,000 RSD.
• The formation and active work of local Social and Economic Councils is one of the priorities of SAE and all social partners in 2019. The essential reasons for strengthening the local social dialogue are the insistence that certain problems of local self-governments should be heard and worked through together and in agreement. Last year, the Social and Economic Council of the Republic of Serbia became a member of the Association of International Social and Economic Councils, which is very important due to the rapprochement with the systems of work and business of other countries, while in September 2019, the President of the Serbian Association of Employers, Miloš Nenezić, was elected to the Board of Directors of the International Association of Social and Economic Councils.
Work plan of the Serbian Association of Employers
Special attention, primarily through dialogue with the social partners, will be focused on the following:
• laws, regulations and policies
• combating the gray economy
• formation and strengthening of local Social and Economic Councils
• promotion of socially responsible companies
• engaging in projects
• international cooperation
SAE will continue to constantly monitor and engage in the following fields, in order to create a better business environment:
• reducing operating costs
• optimization of administrative procedures and elimination of unnecessary bureaucracy
• combating unfair competition
• fight against “undeclared work”
The lack of professional and expert personnel, which was emphasized at SAE’s Assembly, in almost all economic sectors, as well as the economic migration of young professionals must be on the list of priorities of all current policies, starting with economic, through education and employment policy. Therefore, the emphasis of the SAE’s work in the future will be on a radical change in the education system.
In order to achieve SAE’s planned goals, it is necessary to:
• build a stable and strong institutional framework that will set a comprehensive context and conditions in which young people will be provided with quality education and the opportunity to find adequate jobs in short term after completing formal education
• increase the intensity and expand the measures of active employment policy aimed at young people as well as budget allocations with the aim of fast and efficient connection between employers and young people without work experience
• insist on an education system that will emphasize the content aspect of education, with an emphasis on knowledge and skills that are adopted and developed in relation to formal education through which a diploma is obtained [this is one of the important items in the main topic of the Assembly “Competitiveness and employment in order to efficiently use human resources and prevent young people from going abroad”].
Through joint engagement, dialogue and strong support of all social partners, a comprehensive reform of the education system in the Republic of Serbia that will be in line with the needs of the economy and society as a whole and will be one of the most important pillars of Serbia’s Industrial Policy Strategy 2020 to 2030, on the adoption of which the Chamber of Commerce of Serbia is actively working and the Strategy of Economic Development of the Republic of Serbia until 2050, should be initiated and supported. The reform of the education system should be a key policy of the National Strategy of the Republic of Serbia, within which the priorities of sustainable development of the economy, technology, environment and society as a whole will be defined.
AICESIS Meeting in Belgrade 2020. The next meeting of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions (AICESIS) will be held next year in Belgrade. The Serbian Association of Employers will be the host of this event with the support of SAE’s President Miloš Nenezić, who was elected a member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Social and Economic Councils at this year’s AICESIS International Conference.