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NALED celebrated its 10th birthday

Date: 07.09.2016.PrintRecommend Fotke_sajt_10_godina-74.jpgDownload / watch:
Monograph – 10 years of NALED
Video – 10 years of NALED
Video message from Ambassador Michael Polt
Video message from Ambassador Cameron Munter

On Wednesday, 7 September at the White Palace, NALED and its members, partners and friends celebrated the organization’s 10th birthday. The gala event brought together more than 600 guests, political and business leaders, mayors, representatives of state institutions and international organizations, ambassadors and diplomats from the country and abroad.

The event was opened by until recently President of NALED Managing Board and currently Minister of Public Administration and Local Government Ana Brnabić, who firstly thanked the Executive Director Violeta Jovanović and the Executive Office team, for everything they have done in the past ten years.

- The past two years were a turning point in the work of NALED because we experienced openness of the Government and the Parliament, in a manner we hadn’t seen and couldn’t expect earlier. Two important working groups have been established – for countering shadow economy and improving Serbia’s position in the Doing Business report. We also initiated the establishment of the Economic Caucus. The results included the development of the first strategic document for countering shadow economy and the best position on the Doing Business list in the past nine years. In October we will continue with further progress and we keep working on this. Nearly 100 amendments for fine tuning the laws have been adopted in the Parliament, in the best interest of businesses and citizens– said Brnabić.

She stressed that the next big reform will be the introduction of e-government.

- When we worked with the Government and the Ministry of Construction on introducing e-permitting, we built a strong foundation for the development of e-government. Today, the introduction of e-government and numerous electronic services for the citizens and businesses is one of the four priorities of my Ministry, and certainly one of the top two, because the citizens and businesses will feel the most benefits from the e-government. In the next two years you may expect the electronic signature, e-payments, e-archiving, a central registry with all databases of citizens and businesses and property databases, as well as the portal e-inspector which will serve as one of the main tools for countering shadow economy– Brnabić announced.
The Minister sees further possible improvements on the local level in the modernization of administration and the development of infrastructure through public-private partnerships which have long been neglected, resolving the healthcare issues and reducing the differences in the development level of local governments.  

- We in the Government of Serbia are determined to change our society and we insist on the need that all of us understand why it is important to network and exchange ideas, make a contribution to the community and place common, rather than personal interests, in the first place. Our mission will be Serbia without counters, with competent and efficient people, with local leaders who have all the pre-requisites to realize their visions, with businesses which feel the need and the duty to pay all of their liabilities and respect the regulations, the laws that we adopt together, a simple tax system, and most of all, satisfied citizens. In this, I count on full support and a constructive criticism from NALED – Brnabić concluded.

The Minister of Agriculture and until recently the Vice President of NALED MB Branislav Nedimović said that there are at least three important reasons to be a member of NALED. The local administration of the city he led became a better service. Sremska Mitrovica received an international recognition of the Financial Times which would not have happened if it weren’t for NALED, and there was at least one investor who came to the city and employed 600-700 people, thanks to NALED’s activities.

He announced that a major job will be the introduction of vouchers for seasonal workers in agriculture, in order to resolve the problem of shadow zone in this sector.

- I will ask NALED to provide help in establishing the system of food quality control and establishing the national food safety council. I will also need to ask for help in the field of e-government, so as to enable our farmers to easily access the Directorate for Agrarian Payments which will serve as some sort of a central bank in agriculture. We need to conduct a serious reform in agriculture, and I do not see a better partner to the Government in this moment than NALED and similar organizations – said Nedimović, wishing that NALED’s 20th birthday is celebrated in a large area such as Belgrade Arena.

Before the opening remarks, the guests had the opportunity to see a film about NALED, and special video messages from former U.S. ambassadors Michael Polt and Cameron Munter, after the speeches by ministers. This served as an introduction to the addresses of former ambassador Mary Warlick and the current Ambassador Kyle Scott.

                                

Ambassador Warlick congratulated NALED, Ana Brnabić and Violeta Jovanović, as well as the members of NALED Managing Board, on the results achieved over the past 10 years.

- You have achieved so many great things and this is a great merit of your commitment, vision and leadership. Your work with the Government and the Parliament on regulatory priorities, cutting the red tape and stimulating development has been significant in numerous ways. During my term in Serbia it was my great honor to support NALED and participate in some of your initiatives, particularly the Business Friendly Certification program. You deserve congratulations and you should be proud of what you achieved. I wish you all the best and a lot of success in the following decade and beyond – said Warlick.

Ambassador Scott said that the U.S. Embassy has been strongly supporting NALED in the last 10 years, and it continues to do so.

- We are very, very proud of the major success you achieved. NALED has proven numerous times as a precious partner to the Government and the Serbian people, as a champion in the efforts to reform the economy and promote the development on the national and the local level. NALED respects the views of the public and private sector and the citizens, so as to promote policies which would improve the business environment and Serbian economy. The economic policy is stronger and more successful when it stems from a broad public discussion where all segments of the society make a contribution, and NALED particularly helps in this effort. The good news is I see that Serbia has a Government, a business community and civil society committed to fighting all the challenges. I am looking forward to continued partnership with NALED, the Government of Serbia, the business community and the civil society, in our joint efforts to make Serbia an even better place for investments and doing business in the future. I congratulate NALED on their growth and the results in the past 10 years and I wish you many more years of success – said Scott.

The acting President of NALED MB Goran Kovačević considers that Serbia needs a business environment in which everyone will be able to lead a successful business. 

- This country would be far more rich and happy if there were numerous businesses with 2-5 workers, because we cannot have all large companies. NALED’s goal is a modern Serbia, and organized society with high international competitiveness. It is entirely clear that we need to open up towards competition. It is a society where information are up-to-date and publicly available. It is a society with efficient administration and a society where corruption is a surprise, not the rule – said Kovačević.

The addresses were concluded by NALED’s Executive Director Violeta Jovanović, giving tribute to all the people who contributed to the establishment and success of NALED. At the very beginning these people were Steven Rosenberg, then Director of USAID MEGA project who initiated the establishment of NALED, Professor Mijat Damjanović as the first Coordinator of NALED, Ana Brnabić and Professor Ana Trbović. Major contribution in making NALED stand on its feet as an independent organization was provided by the USAID Serbia Mission Director at the time Michael Harvey, Ambassador Cameron Munter, Dejan Cvetković from Microsoft, Neven Marinović, Executive Director of Smart Kolektiv, former Mayor of Novi Beograd and current State Secretary Željko Ožegović, as well as the Director of Nimax Vladan Maksić. The most important however was the first President of NALED MB Predrag Mihajlović who accepted the challenge to lead the young organization. Applause was given by the deserving following members of NALED MB, Vladimir Čupić, Vladan Atanasijević and Ana Brnabić, long time Vice President Toplica Spasojević, as well as the General Secretary of SCTIM Đorđe Staničić and the members, Užice, Vranje and Loznica.

- The central spot belongs to our members, all of you who unmistakably put the key economic issues on the organization’s agenda, help us cross the interests of the public, private and civil sector, thus reaching the best solutions we can then advocate before the Government and the Parliament – said Jovanović.  

NALED also received birthday congratulations from the ministers Nela Kuburović, Aleksandar Antić, Aleksandar Vulin and Mladen Šarčević, Deputy Speaker of the National Parliament Vladimir Marinković, President of Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Marko Čadež, World Bank Serbia Country Director Tony Verheijen, Standing Representative of IMF to Serbia Sebastian Sosa, USAID Serbia Mission Director Aza El-Abd and many other renowned guests.