With reduced revenues from taxes, fees and reimbursements and faced with high costs in the fight against COVID-19, local authorities are appealing for donor assistance for socially disadvantaged families and medical staff. In order to support its members, NALED has designed and launched a unique platform with an overview of donations needed, and the needs of the municipalities that responded already exceed 80 million dinars.
Bela Palanka, Babusnica, Aleksinac, Knjazevac, Dimitrovgrad, Coka, Lebane, Batocina, Bogatic, Vlasotince, Irig, Mali Idjos and Beocin are municipalities with a large number of older people’s households and families in difficult financial circumstances. The work of volunteers and contact centers is not sufficient and donor funds would provide food and hygiene packages for households with below-average incomes.
- Among the municipalities that have so far expressed their need for donations, most of them belong to the third and fourth groups by development level, as well as to the jeopardized group, and we want to focus on them on this platform as assistance to them is really needed and urgent. In this way, we want to connect local governments and healthcare institutions with socially responsible companies and individuals who can provide this assistance - says NALED Executive Director Violeta Jovanovic.
All legal entities, individuals and international organizations may, through a simple search, find and select the local government or institution they wish to assist, after which they will be redirected to contact persons and notified of further steps. The call was also sent to people in the diaspora who are originally from vulnerable municipalities.
After food and hygiene products, the most needed donations are medicines and medical equipment for primary healthcare centers and healthcare professionals, as well as for public sector employees who have to come to work during the state of emergency. Sombor, Cuprija, Razanj, Presevo, Pirot, Indjija, Arilje, Vranje, Bujanovac and Osecina are local governments that have asked for this type of assistance.
In addition to the problems with work organization that all local governments currently face and the difficulty of redirecting many processes taking place in public administration buildings to work at home, underdeveloped municipalities also have an issue with purchasing computers and other equipment, which is a prerequisite for functioning smoothly outside the offices.
In addition to establishing a donations platform, in order to provide direct support at the local level NALED has put forward an initiative to the Government of Serbia for establishing a Fund to support vulnerable municipalities and cities, as well as to introduce additional incentives for founding entrepreneurial businesses, given that self-employment income taxes are crucial local revenues.