Montenegro: Development continues despite the crisis, states Marković

Montenegro: Development continues despite the crisis, states Marković

Even in times of crisis, Montenegro is growing and developing. Therefore, today, we have over 3,000 workers on construction sites across the country, said Prime Minister Duško Marković in an interview with TV Pljevlja.

“The Government does not want to stop any investment. Investing in development is the best remedy for the economic crisis. We can save from other fronts; we have already saved € 6 million in the budget in six months on various bases, but we have not sacrificed a single euro from development projects. Every project is being realised, according to the dynamics possible under these conditions”, said PM Marković.

He reminded of the Government’s serious successes in the previous three and a half years in terms of raising the economy, starting development, increasing the number of employees by over 25,000, reducing the unemployment rate by more than 10 percent, increasing salaries in various sectors, ensuring security of all budget payments – pensions, public sector wages, social welfare payments.

“These were three and a half years of full stability, financial consolidation of the country, accelerated economic development in all sectors – tourism, energy, agriculture, transport, and even in the IT sector”, the Prime Minister stressed, adding that Montenegro recorded the highest growth rates in Europe of 4.5 percent on average.

Montenegro, he added, has been developing intensively from south to north, and the Government has spent hundreds of millions of euros on various capital infrastructure projects. In 2020, it started with the ambition to reap the fruits of such strategic thinking, but in March, the coronavirus pandemic shut down the entire global economy in one day.

Marković said the Government had acted well and efficiently, providing a fantastic response to the coronavirus pandemic in the first months. He pointed out that, creating the preconditions for preserving public health, the Government also worked on preserving the economy.

Through three stimuli packages, the Government provided various types of incentives for both employees and employers, and there was an abundance of support for the socially vulnerable groups. The first package of measures was worth € 280 million, the second package, which included over 63,000 employees, was worth over € 42 million. Consequently, jobs were saved, and by creating incentives for new employment, there were 1,000 new job openings. The third bundle of measures, worth € 1.2 billion across four years, was created with a vision of diversifying the economy, stimulating production and reducing the country’s import dependence.

When asked by a journalist about the Law on Freedom of Religion, Prime Minister Marković said that there was no hidden agenda behind the law, that it aims to regulate the issue of freedom of religion according to the currently most developed standards and ensure that all religious communities are in the legal system.

The Prime Minister said that the Serbian Orthodox Church, supported by political actors in the country and abroad, started a campaign and an effort of destruction against the Government. Pointing out that he had talked with Metropolitan Amfilohije and the clergy at least ten times, the Prime Minister recalled the proposal for amendments to the Law, which was tabled by the Government and rejected by the Church.

“They rejected the proposal. Because political and anti-Montenegrin interests fuelled such a rejection. Unfortunately, the Serbian Church in Montenegro not only does not need a law, but it does not need the state of Montenegro”, said Prime Minister Marković, adding that the Serbian Orthodox Church is a political actor leading the campaign for political entities. /ibna