The Government of Serbia has given the deadline to the State Attorney's Office, the Pension and Disability Insurance Fund and the National Health Insurance Fund until January 9, 2017, to finalize all court procedures pertaining to ownership over spas. It is only when the ownership relations are resolved that the process of privatization can start, and that is also when the decision on the sales model will be reached.
The specialized hospitals in dispute are located in Sijarinska Banja, Niska Banja, Zlatibor, Banja Koviljaca, Sokobanja, Bujanovac, Vrnjacka Banja, Ribarska Banja, Vranjska Banja and Vrdnik.
As Novosti has learned at the Ministry of Economy, the spas should start looking for new owners immediately after the New Year. The Government has also obligated the Ministry of Labor to file a report on the results of the negotiations following the expiration of the 60-day deadline period. In line with the realization of the said conclusion, activities will be undertaken related to the continuation and the completion of the privatization procedure for 10 specialized hospitals.
The Pension and Disability Insurance Fund has no capacities for running rehabilitation centers on its own, and, for the spa tourism in Serbia to keep developing, the state's help is needed, the Fund emphasizes.
– We fully support the Government's motion for this property to be managed by the state from now on, in order for the rehabilitation centers to be used to full capacity – the Fund says.
– When we say that the Fund doesn't have sufficient capacities, we don't mean the work force, but the fact that we only own the buildings, and that mineral water springs belong to the state, which is why we can't do anything without it to put rehabilitation centers back into operation.
The privatization once again became an important issue in Serbia in 2014, and spas have been deemed the most valuable property since then.