Improving business environment to increase investment in tourism infrastructure
Over 1.3 million illegally constructed buildings place Serbia among the countries with the highest number of illegal buildings. The number of realized investments in Serbia is significantly lower than the number of initially interested investors, who subsequently give up the investment. One of the reasons for this situation is long, complicated, non-transparent and very expensive procedures related to construction of buildings. The Amendments to the Law on Planning and Construction, adopted on 8 December 2014, introduce a Unified Procedure, which in its essence is the so-called One-Stop-Shop.
The introduction of a Unified Procedure (UP) represents a significant positive innovation that will reduce steps, costs and time for construction and registration of buildings. The legislator’s idea is that the competent authority (national, provincial or local), in the name and for the account of the client, obtains ex officio the needed documents issued by the state and local public enterprises, Cadaster and other organizations entrusted with public powers. Regarding businesses and citizens, this will result in a significant simplification of the complicated process of obtaining documents needed in various stages of construction.
One of the most anticipated effects of the establishment and proper functioning of the UP in practice will be the progress of Serbia in the World Bank Doing Business (DB) list regarding the ‘Issuance of Construction Permit’ indicator, which is an important parameter of the business environment for the investors. According to the latest Doing Business 2015, Serbia is at the very bottom, holding the 186th place out of 189 economies in the World.
The process of establishing Unified Procedure represents a significant organizational challenge for the ministries, province bodies and local governments, as well as for public enterprises and other organizations. Due to the lack of capacity and resources, there is a concern that the process of issuing permits and other acts in the field of construction might be blocked. This could lead to the 2010 situation, when the process of issuing location, construction and occupancy permits was considerably delayed after the adoption of the Law on Planning and Construction in 2009. Therefore, it is necessary to provide intensive support to all parties in the process of establishing Unified Procedure.
It is known that the process of building facilities significantly affects the development of the private sector and creation of new employment opportunities. The simplification of this process is of particular interest to the development of tourism in the territory of Zlatibor. Here a number of new investments are implemented annually, affecting the development of the private sector and the creation of new employment opportunities, both directly related to the construction of buildings and to the subsequent provision of tourism services.
The Private Sector Development Programme in South West Serbia (PSD) has recognised the potential risks brought by the new law and the need to support the Municipality of Čajetina. An efficient preparation of Čajetina for implementing a Unified Procedure will positively impact the business environment and the development of the tourism potential of the Region of Zlatibor
In October 2014, a contract was signed by and between the Municipality of Čajetina, the Regional Development Agency Zlatibor (RDA Zlatibor) and OPTIMUS – Center for Good Governance on establishing a Unified Procedure in the Municipality of Čajetina, in order to simplify and increase the transparency of construction processes.
The Improving the Business Environment to Increase Investment in Tourism Infrastructure Project was implemented by the RDA Zlatibor in partnership with OPTIMUS, within the PSD. The Project was funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in Serbia - SDC.
The overall objective of the Project was to contribute to preserving jobs in the tourism sector in the Municipality of Čajetina through increased efficiency, transparency and general improvement of public work in the process of obtaining permits and approvals in the field of construction.
- Signed Agreement on Cooperation between the Municipality, 3 public utility companies and the Real Estate Cadaster;
- 27 simplified administrative procedures in the field of construction;
- Established electronic Unified Procedure (i.e. One Stop Shop) and a process of ex officio obtaining documents between the Municipality, public utility companies and Real Estate Cadaster (http://www.opcajetina.rs/ );
- Appointed 20 Unified Procedure coordinators;
- Improved transparency of the Municipality, through the established electronic registry of administrative procedures in the field of construction on the Municipal website (http://www.opcajetina.rs/ereg/ );
- Adopted legal acts for the establishment of Unified Procedure and electronic registry;
- Prepared Instructions for using the software application for Unified Procedure;
- Organized 6 trainings and simulations of submitting and resolving cases within the Unified Procedure;
- Increased efficiency and improved capacity of public employees, who work on Unified Procedure in the Municipality, public utility companies and the Real Estate Cadaster.
The Project’s additional value includes the electronic connection between the Municipality, public enterprises and the Cadastre through installed software for implementing the unified procedure, i.e. monitoring and managing the process of electronic ex officio exchange of documents, using the qualified electronic certificates. This software was developed under the EU Progress, which was funded by the European Union and the Government of Switzerland.
- Supporting the Municipality of Čajetina in establishing the OSS;
- Supporting the Municipality, public enterprises and Cadaster in establishing coordination and ex-officio obtaining of documents for resolving construction-related requests;
- Supporting the Municipality of Čajetina in establishing electronic registry of administrative procedures in the area of construction, with the aim to provide full transparency of work of local administration;
- Promotional activities with the aim to inform citizens and businesses on the improved services of the local self-government, public enterprises and other organizations.
The Project’s additional value includes the electronic connection between the Municipality, public enterprises and the Cadastre through installed software for implementing the unified procedure, i.e. monitoring and managing the process of electronic ex officio exchange of documents, using the qualified electronic certificates.