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Serbia signs three loan deals worth $142 mln with World Bank

Author Iskra Pavlova
Serbia signs three loan deals worth $142 mln with World Bank Source:

BELGRADE (Serbia), May 7 (SeeNews) - Serbia signed three loan agreements with the World Bank worth a total of $142 million on Tuesday to finance projects that aim to support structural reforms and help make the economy more competitive, finance minister Sinisa Mali said.

"The amount is big but the conditions are very favourable," Mali told a news conference at the signing ceremony in Belgrade, according to a video file posted on the website of Tanjug news agency.

The financing is divided in three parts, supporting respectively tax reform, e-government and cross-border cooperation, Mali said without elaborating on the terms of the loans.

The reform of the Serbian tax administration has been underway and will be completed within the coming month and a half, he added. It aims to completely automate the work of the tax administration.

In addition, part of the World Bank financing will help implement a system and software solutions that will enable the reimbursement of value added tax on the same day, not within 45 days or longer as is the case now, Mali said, noting that this has been a key demand of Serbian businesses. According to Mali, the system should start operating by 2021.

The second loan will be used to support cross-border cooperation and trade by complete automation of the work of customs offices, which will increase the transparency and speed of movement of people and goods in the region.

The third loan, worth some $50 million, will be used to finance measures supporting e-government, aiming to make available online as many administrative services as possible, reducing paperwork and waiting time.