Today, the mayors and presidents of 25 local governments from Serbia signed a solemn charter on the establishment of the Club of Municipalities and Cities with a Favorable Business Environment (BFC Club) and committed to work together to improve business conditions at the local.
These are local governments, which, by successfully passing the Certification of Municipalities with Favorable Business Environment in Southeast Europe (BFC SEE) program, have gained confirmation that they provide services according to the highest international standards. The BFC club also includes cities and municipalities that are currently in the process of certification, and seven more have decided to enter the process and join the new, seventh working body of NALED.
Members of the BFC club will be Niš, Kragujevac, Novi Sad, Loznica, Čačak, Kraljevo, Stara Pazova, Pećinci, Ruma, Leskovac, Zrenjanin, Požarevac, Lapovo, Ćuprija, Šabac, Paraćin, Inđija, Mionica, Velika Plana, Zaječar, Bor, Subotica , Sombor, Užice and Valjevo. The first chair of the platform for dialogue of the most successful governments with the state, businesses and the international community will be the Mayor of Niš, Dragana Sotirovski.
- The goals of the BFC club will be to improve the legal framework for local development, apply the highest international standards of the favorable business environment, optimize procedures and digitize services for citizens and the economy, exchange best practices in cities and municipalities and promote investment and entrepreneurship. Behind the establishment of the BFC Club is a simple but important philosophy: cities and municipalities that are leaders in development deserve special treatment from the state and all institutions, in order to lead the development of our country even more strongly. At the same time, developing leaders have an obligation to share their experiences with each other and with municipalities that are lagging behind in development, in order to help others participate in the benefits of economic growth - said Sotirovski.
Property law issues over real estate are one of the problems that burden local governments the most, which is why the guest of the first session of the BFC club was the director of the Republic Geodetic Authority Borko Drašković, with whom solutions for improving cooperation between local services and cadastre were discussed. The BFC club will also focus on decentralizing the collection of taxes on the transfer of absolute rights, defining a common methodology for calculating local levies, new jobs in industries that create great added value, strengthening eGovernment, including new municipalities in the BFC SEE program, etc.
The Executive Director of NALED, Violeta Jovanović, reminded that the implementation of the BFC program started in Serbia in 2007 and by 2012, more than 50 cities and municipalities participated in it. Since 2012, BFC has grown into a regional program and is being implemented in Croatia, BiH, Northern Macedonia and Montenegro. By 2020, 29 governments from Serbia passed through the BFC SEE program, of which 12 were successfully certified (Ruma, Pirot, Leskovac, Stara Pazova, Pančevo, Novi Sad, Šabac, Sombor, Pećinci, Ćuprija, Požarevac, Čačak), while nine are in the process of certification or recertification (Niš, Subotica, Sombor, Užice, Bor, Velika Plana, Paraćin, Raška and Gornji Milanovac).
BFC SEE is the only program in Southeast Europe that offers local governments guidelines for improving the quality of services and information for businesses and potential investors, who can measure local business conditions in five countries based on BFC criteria. On that occasion, municipalities and cities must meet 10 criteria, including the existence of a development strategy, efficient Office for Local Economic Development and the Economic Council, appropriate infrastructure, efficient services, etc.