The Chairman of the Chamber of Doing Business in Kosovo, Skender Krasniqi was invited to the show “Ekonomiks” on RTK, where he spoke about the economic situation in Kosovo. He described 2019 as a bad year for Kosovo’s economy. About the 4.2 percent economic growth he said that this figure does not reflect the real situation in Kosovo.
“Unfortunately, this economic growth taking into account the economic situation in our country is less than 0.1 percent growth of another country, because our situation during these years has not only improved but only worsened and this year as other years it is not a continuation of development and success, but it is a continuation of the failure of our governments to achieve a better welfare of the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo, “said Krasniqi.
He said that political developments in Kosovo in 2019 had a negative impact on the country’s economy and also stressed that the agreements signed by the Kosovar side, the SAA (the Stabilization and Association Agreement) and CEFTA have only had a negative impact on the country’s economy. He further said that these agreements should be signed, but before doing so, they should be studied in detail and always signed in cooperation with businesses in the country.
“Agreements signed so far, such as the SAA, like CEFTA, have had a negative impact on economic development even though all countries that have signed these agreements have had a rapid economic development because they have been carefully and co-signed with businesses protecting their products which Kosovo has not done, ” he said.
“Kosovo is still in CEFTA with zero protection of its products, it is still in the SAA which has only affected the increase of imports. During these five years we have increased by 1860 percent import growth compared to export, so we have about 1 billion import and about 40 million export growth, which shows a terrible state of our economic development ”.
Further, Krasniqi also spoke about the 100% tax on Serbian and Bonie Herzegovina products, which he said it was welcomed, but was again a decision made in a hurry and without consulting with businesses in the country.
“The decision should not be taken so quickly without analyzing it with the businesses in Kosovo to see the effects and counter-effects. The government should not make decisions without proper communication with businesses. Unfortunately, all decisions have so far been made without communication with businesses, which is why the business is responsible, as we are not sufficiently active in the economic development scene, given that 80% of Kosovo’s economic revenue comes from businesses. “
Krasniqi also mentioned the work done by the Chamber of Doing Business in Kosovo during 2019 and emphasized that businesses should be more vocal in their rights.
“For many other problems we are also responsible as businesses because we have not responded sufficiently and we have not put enough pressure to change them and this has led to the lack of economic growth and the Kosovo governments to decide to stabilize the state budget, but that is done at the expense of businesses and the citizens.
The latest decision on municipal taxes to be paid by September 31, which is contrary to the law which decision is made by the Ministry of Finance, shows that they make decisions even in contravention of the law when they need, whether those decisions have a positive or negative impact on the economic development ”, Krasniqi said.
He also mentioned the Law on Strategic Investments in Kosovo, which he said has the most bureaucratic criteria’s , because according to him there are not businesses in Kosovo that can meet the requirements of this Law which has a minimum investment requirement of 10 million euros, which is not affordable for entrepreneurs in Kosovo. Asked whether Kosovo should become part of the Balkan Mini-Schengen, Krasniqi said that it could be another blow to Kosovo’s economy if the country does not implement a strategy of economic development before signing any agreement on a international level.
“Kosovo should create a strategy of economic development. We are the only country that does not have real economic development strategies. Neither in agriculture, nor in commerce, nor in tourism, nor in production, so we are going forward like a great ship in the middle of the ocean without direction. All other countries have created strategies and job offers that we do not have, and have attracted strategic investments as a result of the good strategic investment law and good development policies ”, Krasniqi emphasized.
He has taken examples of countries in the region in the way they have planned the development strategy and the results it has produced.
“Macedonia for example in terms of agriculture has made 4 strategic products that today have extraordinary export and influence on the foreign market, have taken tobacco as a strategic investment, managed to bring Marlboro factory, achieved extraordinary export of wines “.
In the end he said that Macedonia has reached 6 billion euros exports and 8 billion imports while Kosovo has 3 and a half billion import, 350 million export.
“Where was the effect of SAA? I am not against signing these agreements but I am saying that, a review of the effects on Kosovo’s economy must be undertaken before they are signed”, Krasniqi said.