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Starting a business is far too complicated in Bosnia, experts told a Sarajevo conference on June 12, while the other requirements are political stability and better communications.
Over-complicated red tape and the long time needed for completing paperwork are key reasons why people do not invest more in Bosnia, a conference on investment in Sarajevo heard on Tuesday.
Other serious problems are transport and the culture of graft, as the country has a poor reputation for corruption and bad communications.
Ivan Nimac, an expert on investments for the International Financial Corporation, IFC, private sector arm of the World Bank Group, said Bosnia's complicated legal and regulatory framework deterred potential investors.
“When foreign investors come and look at the conditions for doing business in the country... Bosnia is still complex in terms of regional standards,” Nimac said.
“The complexity is related to starting a business and operating a business,” he noted. “The amount of time you need to spend dealing with the government bureaucracy is way to high.”
Nimac noted that, in spite of that, Bosnia remained interesting to some investors in terms of agriculture and some other sectors too.
The director of the Bosnia Foreign Investments Promotion Agency, FIPA, Jelica Grujic, said although the procedures for starting or running business in Bosnia were too complicated, foreign investment was still coming.
“The level of foreign investments rose in 2011 compared to the year before,” Grujic said.
“According to Central Bank data, in the last year investments totalled 312 million euro.” The inflow of direct foreign investment in Bosnia in 2010 amounted to around 174 million euro.
The Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, Mirko Sarovic, said that along with improving the regulatory framework, political and economic stability were key conditions for attracting foreign investors.
“In order to attract foreign investments we have to do much more, because money goes where it is safe and where the society is stable,” Sarovic said.
Hundreds of foreign visitors attended the third Sarajevo Business Forum where they were presented with a range of projects to invest in - and also heard of the problems deterring investors such as themselves.
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