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news 13 Nov 13

Serbian Province Votes to Keep its Money

Serbia's northern province of Vojvodina has adopted a plan to avoid sending all the taxes it generates to the central government.

BIRN
Belgrade

With 63 votes for and 20 against, the assembly in the northern province of Vojvodina adopted a platform which envisions the province keeping much its own money instead of transferring it to Belgrade.

According to the document, direct taxes collected in Vojvodina will instead go to the provincial budget.

Another requirement is that collected VAT and excise of up to 7 per cent go to Vojvodina government while the rest goes to the state. A special body would be set up to collect the taxes.

The document is seen as the base for the never-adopted Law on the Financing of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina.

Serbia's 2006 Constitution envisioned adoption of the law, but there has been a dispute for years now between the government and the province over the issue.

The Prime Minister of Vojvodina, Bojan Pajtic, said the province needed finally to solve the matter of its own finances.

"Given that Vojvodina lost 33 billion dinars (about 290 million euro) this year, and that Vojvodina has 197,000 unemployed people, it is clear that we could have provided jobs to everyone, and invested in the citizens' health and education, out of the funds we were deprived of," he said.

Provincial Assembly Speaker Istvan Pastor said that Vojvodina had lost the equivalent of about 876 million euro since 2007.

The Vojvodina government is led by the Democratic Party, which is in opposition in the national parliament in Serbia.

Besides the Democratic Party, the provincial government includes the League of Social Democrats and the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians, which represents the province's biggest ethnic minority.

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