This month, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) traditionally presented their annual transition report at the National Bank of Serbia (NBS) at an event that was attended by Karanović & Nikolić's Banking & Finance partner, Maja Jovančević-Šetka.
Jorgovanka Tabaković, the governor of the National Bank, was the opening speaker at the event as she firstly welcomed EBRD's executives, and then continued by focusing her speech on the high importance of finding new ways of financing for Serbia.
The EBRD's managing director, Daniel Berg, kicked his presentation off building on the same point by proclaiming 2016 to be the year of Private Equity – advising Serbia to aim for it as the main source of external financing. According to Berg, private equity investments present themselves as a great way to solve financing issues due to a large number of state-owned companies that are currently listed for sale, with more of them to come. He continued by stating how EBRD has always nurtured a tough but fair relationship with NBS and that during the past 15 years of cooperation between the two institutions, they have invested more than EUR 4.2 billion into a multitude of different projects in Serbia. Furthermore, he stressed that during last year alone, EBRD has successfully completed 25 projects in Serbia, with the intention of keeping this momentum – and trying to improve on it – in 2016.
Peter Tabak, EBRD's lead economist for Croatia, Serbia and Russia, followed Berg's presentation up with a couple of bullet points of his own, including the fact that there are still significant transitional gaps between the 21 member states of EBRD, but that overall growth is expected to pick up in 2016. Among other things, Tabak also offered further input on what he sees as ways to improve the general business environment in Serbia, by advising the governing bodies to reduce the administrative burden, enhance competitiveness and focus on restructuring state-owned enterprises.