Wednesday, November 13, 2013

SIEPA does not have accurate data on subsidies

11/13/2013 5:03:00 PM

BELGRADE - The Serbian Ministry of Economy said on Wednesday the companies that had received subsidies from Serbia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SIEPA) had opened 16,097 new jobs, and not 55,000 as SIEPA had claimed.

The ministry has been trying since the government reshuffle to determine the accurate situation concerning subsidies given to investors to create new jobs, and SIEPA was not able to ascertain for over two months the precise number of new jobs investors had created with budget subsidies, the ministry stated. There is no data on capital and number of employees for any of the companies for which SIEPA approved a subsidy at the time the contract was signed. SIEPA did not conduct any inspections with investors who received subsidies for new jobs. It shows that no one monitored around 240 companies that had received the subsidies. 

 The ministry determined that 11,929 jobs were created in 56 projects within the system of monitoring the number of employees and 4,169 in 22 projects that have been completed formally. The ministry activated the bank guaragntees in 8 cases where investors failed to fulfil their part of the contract, thereby initiating the procedure to return EUR 1,404,000 back to the budget. It is not possible to return the subsidies in many cases because the bank that were used to guarantee the contracts no longer exist. It was SIEPA's obligation, according to a government regulation, to monitor the guarantees. Since it took SIEPA's documents in November, the ministry has determined that around 20 of the guarantees, worth more than EUR 2 million, cannot be collected.

 The ministry has for requested for the first time in September that investors document the fulfilment of their contract obligations when filing applications for subsidies. The ministry said it would honour all the contracts where the investors had completed the obligations they had taken upon when receiving the subsidies. The ministry's budget for 2014 includes around RSD 5 billion for subsidies for new jobs. Photo Tanjug Video

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