Paraćin obtains the status of business friendly municipality

This year, for the first time, Paraćin successfully went through the BFC certification program and earned the status of a business friendly municipality, meaning that more than 700 active businesses and future investors in this municipality can count on the services of local administration according to the highest international standards.

The recognition was presented to the Mayor Vladimir Milićević, during the round table "Favourable business environment on the local level", attended by NALED Executive Director Violeta Jovanović, the director of the Development Fund of the Republic of Serbia Tatjana Matić, and the manager of access to finance within the USAID Large Small Business Program Miroslava Panić.

The certification process lasts 12 months and begins with the training of the local government team, which is in charge of meeting the set criteria. The evaluation process follows, in which the current situation in the city or municipality is assessed, after which a report is submitted to the management with specific recommendations for improvement that must be implemented in the given period. At the end of the process, an independent verification committee assesses whether the local government meets the requirements to obtain the BFC SEE certificate.

In the process of improving its services, Paraćin adopted the Capital Investment Plan, initiated the revision process of the municipal development plan with greater participation of the private and civil sector, and established a new Economic Council with an expanded composition. The municipality also formed the Regional Innovation Start Up Center, in order to encourage innovation and the development of entrepreneurship, and above all to provide support to young people who are just entering the world of business.

Paraćin can boast of a developed industry, from the production of glass, cement and food products to the production of construction materials and electrical equipment. Many foreign investors such as MORAVACEM, Rofix Austria, Mondi Packaging Austria, Plast & Metal France, Rimaster Sweden have found a place for production here, and a large number of local businessmen are building or expanding their production facilities.

Further recommendations of the BFC evaluator include strengthening communication with the local businesses, additional investments in the development of existing infrastructure and improving the quality of communal services.

Paraćin, like most municipalities in the region, is yet to develop the conditions for the development of a circular economy and digital services for businesses and citizens, if they want to position themselves as the most favorable investment destinations.

The Business Friendly Certification Program of Cities and Municipalities in Southeast Europe (BFC SEE) has been implemented since 2012 and more than 100 local governments from Croatia, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia have passed through it.

The obtained certificate is valid for three years, after which it can be renewed. Currently, 44 local governments have valid certificates, 12 of which are located in Serbia, and in addition to Paraćin, they also include Čačak, Ruma, Bor, Stara Pazova, Leskovac, Novi Sad, Niš, Požarevac, Šabac, Ćuprija and Pećinci.

With the adoption of the latest IV edition of the BFC SEE standard, a public invitation to cities and municipalities to join the new round of certification was recently published, and all those interested can contact NALED as the competent Technical Secretariat for the implementation of the BFC SEE program in Serbia. The program is supported by the GIZ Open Regional Fund for the Modernization of Municipal Services (GIZ ORF MMS).

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