The economic citizenship program expired on December 31, and the government recently made a decision to form a coordinating body to analyze the program in order to monitor its implementation and effects, as well as the possibility of its continuation, Minister of Economic Development and Tourism Goran Đurović announced in an interview with Dan.
– That program brought numerous financial benefits to Montenegro, and at this moment the possibility of a model for its continuation is being analyzed. Montenegro, as a candidate country in the process of joining the European Union, also takes into account the shortcomings that are continuously pointed out by the European Commission and will base its decisions in this sense on the best interests of the country – pointed out Đurović.
He Is satisfied with the adopted budget because he sees it as a support for further economic development of the state and care for citizens.
– I believe that it is a realistic and sustainable framework for preserving the standard of living of the population in times of crisis. I believe that the accusations that it is consumerist do not stand. We expect that planned expenditures for social protection, increase in pensions and salaries of employees in the public sector will reduce the pressure of inflation on citizens. Also, the capital budget determined the funds for numerous projects that cover all Montenegrin municipalities and that guarantee the further economic development of the country – said Đurović.
Despite the difficulties and challenges brought by the implementation of the Europe Now program, he believes that the increase in wages for citizens significantly cushioned the impact of inflation last year.
– The Europe Now program also influenced the reduction of the gray market and the increase in consumption, and thus led to economic growth. On the other hand, wage growth, as confirmed by international financial institutions, fueled domestic inflation, and the state took over the entire financing of the debts of the Health Fund. As a responsible government, in the coming period we will analyze these impacts and lead policies that benefit both citizens and the economy – said Đurović.
He believes that Montenegro will succeed in meeting the challenges, among which are the economic crisis and inflation.
– During the last year, the government carefully monitored the growth of prices, especially of basic foodstuffs and energy products. The ministry I lead limited margins on flour, sugar, oil and salt, which produced results. Also, we limited the price of pellets, while the Ministry of Finance reduced excise duties on fuel. Despite the movements on the market, we managed to keep the price of electricity at the same level. I think that all this speaks of the fact that the Government monitors what is happening and reacts so that citizens feel as little as possible the consequences of global economic shocks. I believe that in 2023 the state will find a way to deal with these challenges – said Đurović.
He assessed that a successful tourist season is behind us, which, despite the absence of tourists from traditional markets, was about 90% of the record 2019.
– According to data from the Central Bank, as of the third quarter of the year, revenues from inbound tourists reached EUR 916 million, which is at the level of 90% compared to the record year of 2019. I believe that the total revenues for last year will reach one billion euros, and even more, which we are very satisfied with. When it comes to the emission markets that are important for us, Russian and Ukrainian, there was a drop in the number of tourists and the number of overnight stays. In the structure of foreign tourists last year, the most overnight stays were made by tourists from Serbia (25.30%), Bosnia and Herzegovina (8.08%), Germany (7.85%), France (6.40%) and Great Britain (5 ,16%). The number of guests from the Netherlands and Norway, as well as from Israel and Egypt, has increased, and we are seeing increased interest from Saudi Arabia as well. Every crisis implies alternatives, and ours is precisely a look back at European and distant markets – pointed out Đurović.
When it comes to the formation of commodity reserves, he believes that there is a need for this, through the establishment of an agency for strategic reserves.
– The preparation of additional studies that would solve all the dilemmas surrounding the possible establishment of that institution and all the legal and operational conditions for the functioning of the commodity reserve system – concluded Đurović for local media.