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Sep 29, 2020 11:17 EEST
September 29 (SeeNews) - Serbia's economy has shown resilience to the first impact of the COVID-19 pandemic but the government needs to strengthen emergency preparedness, crisis response mechanisms and social dialogue, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said.
Backed by a rapid fiscal stimulus package, the Serbian economy demonstrated its ability to rebound from the initial shock of the first peak of COVID-19, the UNDP said on Monday in a COVID-19 Socio-Economic Impact Assessment on Serbia.
The Balkan country did not have a deep decline in GDP as other similar countries in Europe, but the increase in the budget deficit and in the debt-to-GDP ratio will reduce the government’s funding available to address structural problems and especially the poverty ratio, levels of inequality, availability of social services, the UNDP said.
The government will need to continue to strengthen its health systems, to fast-track reforms in social protection and local governance, and shape the support to small and medium enterprises for greater agility and resilience, the UNDP said.
"The country should use the COVID crisis as an opportunity to build forward better, accelerate the transition to a green economy, and continuously build the trust between institutions and citizens based on shared accountability and responsibility."
The UNDP also recommends strengthening the social dialogue, while building upon the strong contributions from the civil society, volunteers from all walks of life, the private sector and members of the Serbian diaspora.
The findings will be used by the UN to inform its upcoming 2021-2025 cooperation framework with the Serbian government.
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