Opposition leader says Serbia should look to itself

NEWS 18.02.2019 09:26
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Source: N1

Alliance for Serbia leader Dragan Djilas said he believes that Serbia should forget about outside aid and start looking at what it can do for itself.

“State capitalism or economic patriotism has to be Serbia’s main development model. We should not expect help from anyone,” he wrote in an op-ed piece for Belgrade daily Danas.

Djilas wrote that Serbia’s population is impoverished because the government gave precedence to the budget deficit over the living standards of the population, adding that it followed the recommendations of the International Monetary Fund.

“I will publicly criticize everyone whether he is (IMF mission chief James) Roaf or (Serbian President Aleksandar) Vucic who says that the it’s great that the PKB agriculture combine was sold for 10 times less than its realistic value,” he wrote. He added that he wrote to Roaf four months ago but still hasn’t received a reply and asked the IMF and European officials what economic success they though the Serbian government had achieved.

He said the authorities had changed the way unemployment rates were calculated allowing for the “fictitious employment of thousands” and that “economy experts came up with the claim that the way the GDP was calculated was wrong and raised it to an artificial 2.5 billion Euros”. “The reality is completely different since official data from the Finance Ministry shows that the Serbian debt has dropped by a symbolic 0.9 percent in 2018,” Djilas wrote.

He warned that President Vucic was taking from Serbia and its citizens and giving to foreign officials and companies. “He took several billion Dollars in loans from China and called them investments and he gave them the RTB Bor mining and smelting complex for free,” Djilas said adding that Arab companies were given agricultural complexes, the national airline and a large part of Belgrade while the US Behtel was given the job of building a highway without a tender with the price rising from 500 to 800 million, along with millions of Euros in subsidies for Turkish textile producers and loans for railways and 200 million Dollar MiG 29 aircraft from Russia.