Popovic: Alternative Sources of Finance Need to Be Developed, Because Banks Make Up 95% of All Finance Sources in Countries of the Region

Source: Beta Tuesday, 30.05.2023. 15:23
Illustration (Photo: Pixabay.com/Analogicus)Illustration
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) sees no reason for the revision of fiscal rules in the countries of the region, and instead believes that there needs to be an effort toward structural reforms and investment needs, stated the regional resident representative of the IMF Regional Office for the Western Balkans, Stephanie Verena Eble.

At the opening of the second day of the Summit of Finance Ministers, Governors and Tax Administration Directors of the Region in Becici, she estimated that fiscal rules should not be changed all the time and that, instead, they should be “robust, adaptable and resilient.”

– Structural reforms are very important, that is a big issue for the countries of the Western Balkans. It is necessary to open the market for the competition, to strengthen the competition in order to avoid secret agreements and improve price transparency – Eble said.

She said that the state of public finances in the countries of the region was affected by global challenges – from the energy crisis, the high inflation rate, to an increase in interest rates.

Eble estimated that, through the arrangement with the IMF, “affordable finances” should be reached and reminded that North Macedonia had not too long before, just like Serbia before it, harmonized the new fiscal arrangements with the Fund.

Saying that the public debt of Serbia was at 51.4% of the GDP, the assistant finance minister of Serbia, Ognjen Popovic estimated that the public debt had been brought back to the level before the coronavirus pandemic.

He said that, under the conditions of global challenges such as the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the inflation, the key goal was to maintain the growth of the GDP and the citizens’ living standard.

– Serbia continues making public investments in infrastructure, healthcare and energy, in the fields without which no country, not just in the region, can be safe – said the assistant finance minister of Serbia.

Popovic added that one of the strategies that were under development in Serbia was the development of the capital market.

– We need to develop alternative sources of finance, because, in the countries of the region, banks comprise 95% of all sources of finance – Popovic said.

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