News archive


28. January 2015.

Bujanovac-Presevo – “The biggest problem in Bujanovac is the creation of new jobs”, said the Deputy Mayor of Bujanovac Stojanca Arsic, indicating that the local self-government "has a problem with instilling in the minds of the people the fact that there will be no more jobs in the municipal administration and public sector.”

“The only realistic thing now is that there are new jobs in production", noted Mr. Arsic and explained that "production fills the budget, while administration only depletes it.”

Referring to the claims of some Albanian leaders that young people were leaving Bujanovac because of the government, Mr. Arsic noted that young people were leaving Kosovo and Metohija, too, adding that the Serbs were leaving as well, but  that they weren’t going abroad, but to Belgrade.

“And it is irrelevant whether they are the Albanians, Serbs or Roma. All of them have one thing in common, which is to find work, so that this is the main goal and our priority for the time being", said Mr. Arsic.

He points out that Bujanovac has natural resources, such as thermal waters and springs, but that the town needs the help of the state with the economic development, especially with bringing investors to the region. When asked whether cooperation between South Serbia and Kosovo and Metohija and Macedonia might assist with the economic development, Mr. Arsic said that the municipality of Bujanovac had tried to establish economic cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce of Kosovo and Metohija.

“The future of South Serbia, part of Macedonia and Kosovo and Metohija is certainly in joint appearances with foreign partners and on the foreign market”, Mr. Arsic said

The Mayor of Bujanovac Nagip Arifi believes that economic underdevelopment is “the only enemy, not only of the Albanians, but also of the Serbs, Serbia, Kosovo and Metohija, Macedonia and Albania.”

All of them are in a much worse position compared to the Western countries, said Mr. Arifi, stressing that people look for better life and “that’s why both the Serbs and Albanians leave.”

 “I don’t claim, as some people do, that the Serbian government hasn’t done anything. A lot has been invested in here since 2001”, said Mr. Arifi, who believes, however, that little has been done in the area of ​​economic development. 

“Funds are earmarked in the Coordination Body’s budget for supporting small and medium-sized enterprises and for creating new jobs, but these funds are insufficient,” said Mr. Arifi and stressed that foreign investments were the greatest opportunity.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have any ministers from here that would lobby for this region, as others do,” said Mr. Arifi, pointing out that “it wasn’t good either for the Albanians or the Serbs,” so that the Government should be more involved in resolving the issue.  

He believes that the entire region has a predisposition for economic development, but that there won’t be any perspective until the relations between Belgrade and Pristina are resolved.  

“The border between Serbia and Kosovo and Metohija should be open for the economy, so that  people could sell their products on both sides,” stressed Mr. Arifi.

Unemployment, which has been over 70 percent for years, is an additional problem for the Mayor of Presevo, Ragmi Mustafa. He believes that all the governments in Belgrade have, so far, been uninterested in the economic development of the area.

Mr. Mustafa mentioned a plan to build an industrial zone on an area of ​​16 acres, for which a single dinar hadn’t been provided by the government, “although some previous ministers promised us considerable support.”  

The President of the Coordination Body for the Municipalities of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja, Zoran Stankovic, points out that “all forces should unite and prioritize business opportunities in this part of Serbia”.  

“Clear objectives, which will result in concrete realization, should be set. If that isn’t done, everything will be just a story, without the concrete results and assistance provided not only by the state, but also by the political structures,” said Mr. Stankovic.

The President of the Regional Chamber of Commerce in Leskovac, which includes Jablanica and Pcinj districts, Goran Jovic, notes that these three municipalities are in a very difficult situation and perceives the construction of Corridor 10 as the only bright spot.   

“There are more jobs for the local population now because of the construction of Corridor 10, which can’t be some major improvement, but still provides some opportunities,” says Mr. Jovic.

 He doesn’t see a greater opportunity for providing assistance to South Serbia, “except through funds and lower interest rates geared towards this part of Serbia.”

The Regional Chamber of Commerce from Leskovac opened its office in Bujanovac for the purpose of helping businessmen establish contacts and cooperate with other businessmen in Serbia and the region.

Source: Jugpress and Coordination Body