“Montenegro continues to successfully tackle an epidemic that has endangered and paralysed the whole world. This is indicated by the information and analysis of all domestic and international institutions and I would like once again to thank all citizens of Montenegro, who have shown a high level of awareness and responsibility during this difficult time. Unfortunately, we also witness the irresponsibility of a smaller number of people, who can jeoparadise the goals set by the state; and to defeat the sacrifice, responsibility and patriotism of the vast majority of citizens. The sacrifice and renunciation, among others, of the residents from Tuzi, residents of the village of Biokovac in the municipality of Bijelo Polje, the inhabitants of the Roma settlement in Konik. Now everyone without exception must be aware that we are in the most important period for preserving the health of all of us,” said the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Duško Marković pointed to the crucial importance of contribution of every citizen in combating the epidemic today, because it means an opportunity for all of us to avoid the virus, and vice versa – the danger of everyone being infected, if we do not follow the rules and personally contribute to collective protection.
“Therefore, the discipline must be imposed on anyone who did not comply with orders and instructions. For ourselves, our children, our families. That is why law enforcement institutions in the coming days must be as determined and consistent, as never before. Despite all of this, the burden on citizens is multiplied when, in addition to health care, our man has to think about how to feed his family, while employer thinks of how to provide wages for his employees. It is the responsibility of the Government, in the ordinary circumstances, to provide an environment for economic development and a better standard for its citizens. However, the right to a decent life for each of you, and in the situation we found ourselves, is also a job of the state. For this reason, I have asked the expert team to prepare a proposal for economic measures that will be adjusted to this moment and targeted towards those who need it most,” the Prime Minister pointed out.
The Prime Minister epmhasised that the economic team that he formed, had proposed a package of measures to support the economy, employees and socially disadvantaged citizens and that a dialogue with social partners, representatives of parliamentary clubs in Parliament and a number of economic experts and analysts will be launched tomorrow.
“I want us to gather and unite both, our strength and our knowledge! To make an Alliance for Montenegro, because only together and only in unity, can we tackle all the challenges imposed by the spread of this virus. The state will continue to settle its obligation towards citizens and economy, in changed and difficult circumstances, on a regular and without diminishing basis,” Prime Minister Duško Marković stated.
The proposed new measures, presented by the Prime Minister include:
• Subsidies for closed industries for April and May 2020, in the amount of 70% of the minimum wage and 100% of taxes and contributions to the minimum wage for each registered employee in sectors that had to be closed, due to epidemic measures;
• Subsidies for vulnerable activities for April and May in the amount of 50% of the gross minimum wage for each registered employee in sectors, whose work is at risk due to measures for combating epidemic;
• Subsidy for wages of employees on paid absence for April and May of 70% of gross minimum wage for each employee who had to stay home to care for a child under 11;
• Subsidies for wages of employees in quarantine or isolation also for April and May 2020 in the amount of 70% of gross minimum wage for each employee, who have to be quarantined or in self-isolation;
• Subsidies for new employment in the amount of 70% of the gross minimum wage for at least 6 months for entrepreneurs, micro, small and medium-sized companies, who register new employees in April and who were simultaneously registered as unemployed persons at the Employment Agency of Montenegro.
Subsidies that the Government grants in this way, through support to the economy and citizens are exempt from forced collection.
These measures include both, citizens’ benefits and liquidity enhancement.
• Additionally, the Government will charge the Investment and Development Fund to design new credit lines in a manner which complements these Government measures.
• State bodies, state administration bodies, institutions and other entities exercising public authority, founded by Montenegro, as well as companies in which the capital is majority-owned by the state, will request the postponement of enforcement initiated on their proposal, after the adoption of measures, for a period of 60 days for economic entities, whose activities were prohibited in order to combat the epidemic, by the order of the Ministry of Health.
• All energy entities will exempt from paying, of a fixed part of the electricity bill for the months of April, May and June, the companies in activities whose work is prohibited by the order of the Ministry of Health;
In parallel, the Montenegrin Electric Enterprise will double the amount of subsidies for electricity bills, for the duration of the measures to socially disadvantaged households.
Each VAT refund requested will be realised within a maximum of 45 days and the Customs Administration will extend the limit of exposure of the customs guarantee for deferred payment of customs debt from 30 to 60 days for the months of April and May, for economic entities in activities prohibited by the order of the Ministry of Health, to combat the epidemic.
This package of measures also includes support for the agriculture and fisheries sector, which we also took into account when making recommendations for combating the epidemic, aimed at facilitating agricultural work within realistically possible terms.
We expect the agricultural sector to make a strong contribution to the revival of economic activity and that is why the commitment of the Government is to further support the agriculture, in addition to more than generous Agro budget, through:
One- time assistance to commercial fishermen; Payment of contributions to insured persons on the basis of agriculture; One-time support for beneficiaries of the nursing allowances; Support for the purchase of local products; Support for payment of products to domestic producers within 15 days; Favourable loans for the purchase of working capital and payment of interest to the beneficiaries of these loans in the grace period; Prepayment of 80% of individual premiums.
Additional support for agriculture will also mark the continuation of a policy of balanced regional development, with a particular focus on the North of Montenegro.
Finally, the Government will provide one-time assistance in the amount of EUR 50 to all unemployed persons on the records of the Employment Agency of Montenegro, who do not receive financial compensation or material security.
The Prime Minister epmhasised that the substance of each of these measures is to support an employee who is working and wants to create; and a entrepreneur who respects the state and its economic efforts, while protecting its employees.
“Every euro we invest through this package of measures must contribute to the preservation of what we have and to create the preconditions for a faster recovery of the economy and a living standard of every citizen and his family. In recent years, Montenegro has been stepping up in strides, reaffirming its ability to develop sustainably and manage processes of overall prosperity. It is our duty to do our utmost to ensure a way out of the crisis, which has hit the whole world, including Montenegro and its citizens. Therefore, this package of measures is a second and I am sure of an even greater and stronger Governments step towards this goal. That is why I believe that our proposal, which covers the care of over 100 thousand employees and thousands of entrepreneurs, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, will be positively assessed by the well-meaning ones, those who recognise the importance and scope of these measures, so of everyone who understands the moment in which we found ourselves. This is the beginning of comprehensive economic measures, which that we will gradually take to keep our economy going the way it has gone so far. And that is the path of progress and a better life. The recovery path will not be easy, but I assure you, we will come out of this stronger! TOGETHER FOR MONTENEGRO, UNITED FOR ALL OF ITS CITIZENS!” concluded Prime Minister Duško Marković.
PUBLIC RELATIONS SERVICE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF MONTENEGRO