Press release from 84th Cabinet session

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    At today’s 84th session, chaired by Prime Minister Duško Marković, the Montenegrin Cabinet established the Proposal Law on Amendments to the Law on Budget and Fiscal Responsibility. In order to further improve the budget system and manage public finances through alignment with the internationally accepted methodology, the changes have defined that the costs of purchasing securities are treated as part of the financing transactions. Also, the manner of determining the budget surplus or deficit is prescribed in such a way that expenditures are reduced in addition to the already prescribed deduction for repayment of principal in the country and abroad based on debt arising from borrowing or issuance of securities also for expenses for the purchase of securities representing transactions financing… Press release from 84th Cabinet session

    At today’s 84th session, chaired by Prime Minister Duško Marković, the Montenegrin Cabinet established the Proposal Law on Amendments to the Law on Budget and Fiscal Responsibility. In order to further improve the budget system and manage public finances through alignment with the internationally accepted methodology, the changes have defined that the costs of purchasing securities are treated as part of the financing transactions. Also, the manner of determining the budget surplus or deficit is prescribed in such a way that expenditures are reduced in addition to the already prescribed deduction for repayment of principal in the country and abroad based on debt arising from borrowing or issuance of securities also for expenses for the purchase of securities representing transactions financing.

    The Draft Law on Amendments to the Budget Law of Montenegro for 2018 was established. The changes are conditioned, above all, by the need for technical harmonisation with the amendments to the Decree on Organisation and Manner of Work of the State Administration, which abolished the Ministry of European Affairs, as well as the need to increase incomes and reduce current expenditures. The changes are conditioned by the methodological changes in the calculation of the budget deficit, envisaged by the amendments to the Budget Law and fiscal responsibility, which are in line with the internationally accepted methodology and recommendations of international financial institutions. The discussion emphasised that the structure of the budget for this year is being changed, but the preservation of the previously planned deficit is ensured, with a slight increase. In order to reduce budget expenditures, the Cabinet passed a decision that obliges all state administration bodies and public institutions founded by the state to halt definite and indefinite employment contracts for a period of one year, except in sectors of special public interest, with the prior approval of the Government. In this context, the expectation is that this measure will, inter alia, affect a certain number of unemployed persons to focus on the private sector in which there are a large number of vacancies.

    The Proposal Law on Amendments to the Law on Excises was established, which envisages revision of the existing level of excise duty through the change of the valid “excise calendar” for cigarettes and soft drinks. In order to ensure the stability of the market regarding the amount of excise on cigarettes, a reduction in the existing amount of specific excise on cigarettes from EUR 40 for 1000 pieces (EUR 0,80 per pack) to EUR 30 euros for 1000 pieces (EUR 0, 60 per pack) is planned from 1 September 2018. From the same date, a reduction in the excise tax on soft drinks from EUR 40 to EUR 30 per hectoliter has been proposed from 1 August 1 to 31 December 2018. It was emphasised that the proposed amendments create conditions for increasing budget revenues, preserving the sustainability of public finances, market stability and suppressing illegal economy.

    The Cabinet passed the Public Administration Optimisation Plan 2018-2020. The discussion emphasised that the aim of optimisation is to provide support for establishing an administration that responds better to the needs of citizens and the private sector, while at the same time relieving the state and municipal budgets. It is envisaged to implement this through the adoption and implementation of the optimisation plan and the redistribution and / or reduction of the number of employees in line with management needs, including facing the challenges of European integration. The plan defined long-term and short-term optimisation measures at the central and local levels, including a moratorium on employment for a period of one year.

    In the framework of the implementation of the new Law on Civil Servants and State Employees, which came into force on 1 July 2018, the Cabinet passed the Decree on the content, procedure and method of preparing and amending the personnel plan for state administration bodies and government services, the Regulation on Criteria and the closer method of carrying out verification of knowledge, skills, competencies and skills for employment in state bodies and the Code of Ethics for Civil Servants and State Employees.

    The Communication Strategy of the Government of Montenegro for the period 2018-2020 was passed. This is the first umbrella communication document, prepared with expert support and by the methodology of the UK Government Communication Service, which is the global leader in this field. In drafting the Strategy, the starting point was the Prime Minister’s position in his expose that the basic responsibility of the Government is to stimulate accelerated economic development and positive social changes, with the decisive protection of the rights, interests and equality of all citizens of Montenegro.

    The Strategy places the citizen at the center of all government communication activities and affirms the principle of contemporary two-way communication, in a format and content that is tailored to the needs of citizens. This establishes an essentially new practice that implies not only the dissemination of information, but also active listening and careful analysis of citizens’ views, which are a key input in the creation of Government policies. The Strategy places the job of communication at the heart of the process of creating and implementing public policies in a way that provides a measurable contribution to public policies. The Government’s first communication strategy provides answers to the question of how government policies affect the better quality of life of citizens of Montenegro in key areas – justice and security; growth, employment and a higher standard of living; state – the service of citizens and Montenegro in the world.

    The Government has established the Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Execution of the Decision of the Constitutional Court of Montenegro U-I No. 6/16 of 19 April 2017 (“Official Gazette of Montenegro”, No. 31/17). The main reason for the change is the fact that this Law does not recognise beneficiaries of the right to compensation based on the birth of three or more children who, for the purpose of exercising that right, have terminated their fixed-term employment. In accordance with the Decision of the Constitutional Court of 25 December 2017, the provisions in the part relating to payment for contributions for pension and disability insurance were amended.

    The Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Integrated Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution was also established with the Report from the Public Discussion. In order to improve the existing solutions, it is stipulated that the maximum penalty for operators who have not received an integrated permit until 1.1.2018 will be increased from the current EUR 15,000 to EUR 40,000.

    The Cabinet adopted the Information on the Proposal of the Financing Agreement between the Government of Montenegro and the European Commission for the Sectoral Operational Programme for Employment, Education and Social Policy for the period 2015-2017 and accepted the text of the Agreement. The main objective of the programme is to ensure a developed and cohesive society by providing better conditions for raising the level of employability of the population, improving the quality of formal, informal education and lifelong learning, with the social inclusion of disadvantaged people and reducing the risk of poverty.

    The Grant Programme for Innovative Projects 20118-2020 has been adopted. It sets out general and specific objectives, award procedures and the process of implementation of grants, as well as ethical issues. The overall objectives of the Programme are: strengthening the competitiveness of Montenegrin companies by co-financing the development of innovative market-oriented products, services and technologies that have great potential for commercialisation and market application; support the transfer of innovative ideas from scientific research institutions to the market, through cooperation with business partners or by opening new companies / spin-off companies in Montenegro and strengthening human resources and creating new jobs. The Ministry of Science will approve the co-financing in the amount of up to EUR 100,000 by the accepted grant, and the projects will be co-financed for a period of 12 to 24 months.

    The Cabinet adopted the Information on the status of persons who graduated from the Police Academy in Danilovgrad.

    In accordance with the provisions of the Law on Local Self-Government, the Cabinet passed the Decision on Warning to the Municipal Assembly of Budva. Bearing in mind the fact that the Municipal Assembly of Budva has not been performing its functions for more than six months, i.e. it does not fulfill the legally stipulated obligations, thus jeopardizing the exercise of citizens’ rights, the Government warns the Municipal Assembly of Budva to hold a session of the Assembly within 15 days s in order to fulfill their functions, i.e. to execute the legally determined obligations.

    The Cabinet passed the Decision extending the mandate of the Commission to monitor the conduct of the competent authorities in investigating cases of threats to violence against journalists, murder of journalists and attacks on media assets for a period of two years. Also, the Decision on amending the Decision on Establishment of Commission was adopted. Prof. Dr. Aneta Spaić was appointed as a member of the Commission instead of Veselin Racković.

    Due to the expiry of the term, the Cabinet dismissed the members of the Board of Directors of Aerodromi Crne Gore AD Podgorica and adopted the Decision on the selection of members of the Board consisting of Vladimir Beratović, Dževat Redžematović, Zdravko Mitrović, Vlastimir Ristić and Dragoljub Bulatović.

    Source: Government of Montenegro