The issue of financing is one of major obstacles for doing business in both Serbia and the Western Balkans, said participants in the Business Forum of the Western Balkans Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility (WB EDIF), presenting the data that suggests SMEs in Serbia lack EUR1 billion in financing.
We cannot take pride in ease of access to financing, as the Western Balkans are positioned in the lower half of the list that ranks 137 countries per ease of access to loans and development of financial markets, said the President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce Marko Cadez as he opened the Forum hosted by the Chamber.
According to him, banks’ offer in the region remains inadequate for SMEs.
Cadez pointed to EIB’s assessment which suggests that Serbia lacks EUR1 billion for SMEs, mainly in mid- and longer-term loans.
He said that in the second half of 2018 Serbia would adopt new legislative framework for alternative business financing sources.
The State Secretary at the Ministry of Economy Branimir Stojanovic said that thanks to the EDIF, the past six years have seen tremendous progress, especially in terms of cooperation between the European Commission, financial institutions operating in the region, bilateral donors and the Western Balkans economies.
The Head of Cooperation Sector at the EU Delegation to Serbia Yngve Engström said that some EUR650 million have been made available for SMEs in the region, which in turn helped to create over 30,000 jobs.
He also pointed to an agreement struck with the Government of Serbia that will offer EUR20 million worth of grants to Serbian companies.