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Prime Minister Duško Marković gave today his first interview to the national broadcaster (RTCG), since becoming the Prime Minister. In a conversation with editor-in-chief RTCG’s Channel 1, Aleksandar Mirković, the Prime Minister said that the Government made serious and good results in the first year and that everything that the Government is doing is in line with the plan and vision whose main goal is the valorisation of development resources and economically viable, stable and developed Montenegro where the standard of living of citizens will be significantly higher…
Prime Minister Duško Marković gave today his first interview to the national broadcaster (RTCG), since becoming the Prime Minister. In a conversation with editor-in-chief RTCG’s Channel 1, Aleksandar Mirković, the Prime Minister said that the Government made serious and good results in the first year and that everything that the Government is doing is in line with the plan and vision whose main goal is the valorisation of development resources and economically viable, stable and developed Montenegro where the standard of living of citizens will be significantly higher.
This budget rebalance is connected with our overall policy focusing on financial, macroeconomic stability and, of course, on boosting the growth of the economy, new employment and job creation. When it comes to such Government’s actions and, one can very often hear this kind of remarks from our political competition that we are a ‘chaotic Government’, that we ‘are not controlling things’ and that we act and make decisions on a case-to-case basis. No, these are all foreseeable moves towards financial stabilisation and macroeconomic stability and the creation of prerequisites for sustainable economic growth, the Prime Minister said at the beginning of the interview.
At the beginning of the Government’s term, the IMF did not believe us, today they appreciate us
PM Marković said that his Government, at the beginning of its term, faced with general distrust both at home and abroad.
In December, I hosted the representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and his team and he was very unhappy in this conversation, pointing to their assessment that Montenegro did not have the capacities to respond to such a complex challenge and in order to give a response it must make a deal with the IMF worth $ 300 million, which would imply following government measures: cutting sector-wide earnings, decreasing pensions, increasing excise and VAT, abolishing subsidized rates of VAT, firing employees… These were really bad moments for me and my team in budget creation and fiscal consolidation planning. I then rejected that offer. They went away with mistrust in our ability and credibility to propose measures and to implement them. And you see what happened in 2017. By mid-year, the World Bank and the IMF have positively assessed our ability to manage public finances and the economy, you are witnessing it, and what is unusual during financial consolidation two credit agencies Moody’s’ and Standard & Poor’s have increased our credit rating. This means that we have planned well, that we have responded well to these challenges and achieved an excellent result. These were not just the results of financial consolidation, but the economic growth. For the first time in 2017, Montenegro recorded high growth rates after 2008 and the economic boom. To recall, in Q1 our growth was 3.2%, in Q2 5.1%, in Q3 4.7%. I think the information about growth in Q4 will be published on Friday. I expect it to be over 4%. So this is a remarkable result, and on the basis of that result and that policy we have gained incredible trust by the IMF and the World Bank, Prime Minister Marković said.
Responding to the question when citizens will directly fell the benefits of rising GDP growth and rating of our country, the Prime Minister said that this is exactly the way we should go.
There is no increase in standards, no increase in earnings, and no new quality of life if there is no economic growth. Of course, both you and I know, it is not possible to achieve this in one year and based on the growth in the first year so quickly to see qualitative and quantitative changes in the citizens and their home budget, but without this trend and sustainability of this growth in the medium term and in the long term there cannot be new quality in Montenegro. You are right, citizens are impatient, we understand the citizens, but this is the only way, and for this reason we want to ensure that in 2018 we will continue to grow our GDP, i.e. economy at this level we had in 2017 This is now a more demanding job, as we have a bigger starting point because the growth of 4.2% is a remarkable growth. You know that the EU has grown at a lower rate than Montenegro, and it is known that our rate of growth is among the largest in Europe, somewhere in the fifth or sixth place, PM Marković said.
Serious investors are interested in our energy
Prime Minister Duško Markovic said in an interview with RTCG that the Government’s approach to the stabilisation of the energy sector is well-thought in order to make it favourable for development, new projects and investments.
We have serious interests of credible investment funds, the US and European investment funds, credible European energy companies. One of them has now purchased a part of the energy system in Germany. Our goal now is that they enter our energy sector not buy the action shares and make profit, but to invest in it. No one will enter EPCG, in its ownership structure, when we predominantly or dominantly get back the ownership through the termination of the arrangement with A2A, no one will be able to enter our energy sector and the EPCG, if one has no investment strength. This means that we are going to build new hydropower plants in Morača and in Komarnica, as well as the second block of TPP Pljevlja, we are going to create new wind power plants, we already have the first 72 MW wind power plant in Montenegro, a new wind power plant is being built in Možura, the Germans are interested to build new wind power plant of this capacity in Brajići, we will probably announce call to build a significant solar-based energy source in Ulcinj whose investment will be over EUR 300 million… These are all the policies the Government is well-thought creating, nourishing growth, providing financial stability, providing earnings and pensions, we adjusted the pensions in January by 2.3%, we haven’t lowered them, we ensure the regularity of social benefits, we have increased some social benefits, and of course we provide the growth of our economy. We opened more than 4,000 jobs in 2017, PM Marković said.
This Government takes responsibility for Montenegro Airlines, we will valorise the airports
The Prime Minister said, answering the question about Montenegro Airlines’ future that Montenegro as the predominant destination needs the national air carrier, and that requests for liquidation of Montenegro Arilines are not a responsible approach.
We take responsibility. Maybe this is not the best solution, but we think it is. And we stand behind it and we talk about it transparently. We are even discussing this with the European Commission, as the European Commission treats it as a state aid. The protection of the air carrier is our national and economic interest and we will try to respond to this interest, Prime Minister Marković said.
When asked to clarify his statement that our airports are “embarrassment”, the Prime Minister said that when he thought of the technical level of our airports, not of the employees.
The candidacy of Milo Đukanović is the best choice, which is well-thought
Asked to comment on yesterday’s decision by the Democratic Party of Socialists that its presidential candidate will be Milo Đukanović, Prime Minister Marković said he thinks this is the best choice.
I see there are different speculations on the subject, that we have problems in the party, that there are different currents, that we cannot decide, etc. Our political decisions are not based on what our political competition is doing, but on what the goals of our politics are and the realisation of our political aspirations. Of course, we had one obstacle, because the President of the party who is undisputed authority in our party, the man who marked and gave every shape to the new and contemporary Montenegro, clearly stated that he does not want to return to state functions. Then, within this position, we discussed the various options in the context of national needs, the political situation in the country, our environment and regional challenges as well as the global challenges – you see what is happening today, you cannot predict what’s going to happen tomorrow in America, let alone the unstable region of the Western Balkans, so we seriously thought about a candidate who would be able to respond to the following obligations of the Montenegro in the very important and demanding period for country over the next five years. In the context of this ambiance and these needs, we have long considered, discussed, conducted research, and in the end decided that Đukanovic should be that man and he accepted it yesterday without any problems, PM Marković said.
The question is whether the Ministry of European Affairs will continue to exist
When asked about the future of our European integration process in the context of the resignation of the former Minister, the Prime Minister reminded that President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Junker recently in Podgorica said that the resignation will not have any impact. The Prime Minister added that the issue of whether the Ministry of European Affairs will continue to exist is open.
No problem for our negotiating process, there is any risk. I’m thinking about the approach now. It is not about names, but the approach – whether we will keep this approach or we will use a new approach, which means abolishing the Ministry and forming a negotiating office in the Office of the Prime Minister, headed by the chief negotiator. This is now the thing I think about, I discuss it with my associates and colleagues, I will also talk with the team of the current Ministry of the European Affairs to see what they have to say on this topic and I believe that within the next ten days I will have an answer to this situation as well as systemic approach, and regarding personnel issue, PM Marković said.
Source: Government of Montenegro