Serbia to aid companies doing business with Ukraine, Russia, Belarus

Serbia’s economy has grown steadily despite the challenges it faced due to the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine, the minister said, adding that these had generated inflation, supply chain issues and a new energy crisis. [Shutterstock/Jakov Simovic]

The Serbian government will pass an ordinance on Thursday to assist 1,400 companies whose operations involved doing business with Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, Finance Minister Sinisa Mali has said.

“Favourable loans will be provided, with a five-year repayment time frame, and a two-year grace period,” Mali said at a conference hosted by the Serbian Chamber of Commerce.

Serbia’s economy has grown steadily despite the challenges it faced due to the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine, the minister said, adding that these had generated inflation, supply chain issues and a new energy crisis.

“Every macroeconomic indicator is completely stable. The public debt to GDP ratio is 52.1%, far below the EU standard of 60% of GDP. The unemployment rate is between 10% and 11% – the same as before the crisis broke out. This year’s deficit will not exceed 3%, as VAT collection is far better than expected. A 4.3% growth rate was reported in the first quarter and is expected to drop to 3.7% in the second quarter,” Mali added.

The finance minister said that his government had taken a series of steps to protect citizens and businesses, including controlling fuel prices, limiting prices on basic foods and ensuring the country continues to have Europe’s lowest gas prices.

The minister also pointed to one-off programmes to support pensioners, education and healthcare workers, and young people.

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