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INTERVIEW: We need to simplify things for investors - Sarajevo Canton PM

INTERVIEW: We need to simplify things for investors - Sarajevo Canton PM Photo: Sarajevo Canton Government

SARAJEVO (Bosnia and Herzegovina), May 7 (SeeNews) - The government of Bosnia's Sarajevo Canton should help investors by cutting non-tax charges, the cantonal prime minister, Edin Forto, told SeeNews on Tuesday.

"One of the things that Bosnia is famous for is the complicated administration. Even if not all of the administration is in the competences of the canton's government, we need to do more in simplifying things for investors who come here and for companies that do businesses here," Forto told SeeNews in a brief interview on the sidelines of the 2019 annual meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in Sarajevo.

Under Bosnia's complex system of governance established by the Dayton Peace Accords, the Sarajevo Canton is one of the 10 cantons of the Federation - one of the country's two constituent entities. The other entity is the Serb Republic.

The non-tax charges on businesses are something within the powers of the cantonal government to do away with but this could hurt the budget, Forto noted.

"If we cut one of these, the budget will need another let us say, 4 million euro, that we need to find from within our savings, within a better and more efficient government and then cut these charges and allow businesses to operate more freely."

The Sarajevo Canton's capital budget stands at around 100 million euro ($111.9 million), Forto said.

"It is not an easy process but there are a lot of things we can do and these are the things that we will do first," he said, adding that the cantonal government has already opened talks with the Union of Employers in the canton.

"Together with them we will identify the ones that should be done away with and we will together work on cutting them, as these are charges that work against the business," Forto noted.

In his words, one of the biggest problems for the cantonal government is that most of the projects it has inherited from the previous administrations are ''stuck'' and lack a clear cut timeline for completion.

"There is a lot of money in Bosnia in savings accounts, there is a lot of free money in the region that will come here once they recognise the opportunities. It is not about being a foreign, or being a local [investor], it is about giving opportunities to the business," Forto concluded.

($ = 0.8933 euro)