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Mihajlovic: We are embarking on new projects, the laws are needed to implement them faster

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, prof. Zorana Mihajlovic PhD, said today that the main objective of the legislation that was debated today in the National Assembly is to implement projects more effectively and continue reforms.


In her opening statement, Mihajlovic said to national envoys that 350 kilometers of motorways were constructed and more than 500 kilometers of railway lines were reconstructed in the past few years and that these experiences were the basis for drafting the Law on Special Procedures for the realization of projects for construction and reconstruction of line infrastructure facilities of particular importance to the Republic of Serbia.

 

“This law should enable us to be more efficient in the implementation of infrastructure projects, especially given the many new projects that await us within the Serbia 2025 investment plan. This is especially true for faster resolution of property-legal relations, since new projects will be implemented on about 50,000 parcels. Also, adopting the law will help us, as a state, not give contractors a basis for compensation claims and pay penalties for obligations we have failed to meet,” says Mihajlovic.


She recalled that about € 5 billion worth of new projects are being launched in the new investment cycle. “The beginning of the works on Morava corridor, as well as on the high-speed highway Ruma-Sabac-Loznica has already been marked, and the works on the highway Sremska Raca - Kuzmin, as well as on the section of highway Milos the Great have started, from Pozega to Boljare. We are also preparing to begin works on Fruska Gora Corridor, Iverak-Lajkovac expressway. We believe that this year, in the third quarter, we will begin works on Nis-Merdare-Pristina project, that is, on the first section, from Nis to Plocnik. There is also documentation for Pozega - Boljare section, as well as for Sumadija Corridor “Vozd Karadjordje”, which we expect to begin the works in 2021. These are all major capital projects and laws that we enact can help us to be more efficient,” Mihajlovic said.

 

Speaking about the Bill amending the Planning and Construction Act, she said that Serbia is today ninth in the World Bank's Doing Business List and that the Government intends to continue adapting domestic regulations to European norms and to advance certain norms in the law.


"This law will specifically address the issue of engineer licenses, where there will be an obligation for engineers to continue their education in their fields," she added. As an example, she stated that in the implementation of Belgrade-Budapest high-speed railway construction project from Belgrade to Novi Sad, domestic engineers did not have enough knowledge to do the designing themselves because they had not encountered such projects before, and were assisted by Chinese engineers, and that there were cases where individual members of the audit committee were not aware of certain standards that already exist in the world.

 

Adoption of the Bill on the Register of Spatial Units and the Address Registry will enable to resolve the issue of a large number of citizens who do not have an adequate residence address. "A total of about three million citizens have registered residence in the streets without a specific home number, of which 2.6 million have been reported at addresses for which no street name has been designated and we want to regulate the area with this law," she added.


The Bill on Amendments to the Law on Conversion of the Right of Use to Ownership of Building Land with Remuneration should enable more effective implementation of legal provisions in practice, while the Bill on Amendments to the Law on Special Conditions for the Implementation of the Construction Project for Security Force Members to increase the maximum number of floors of the building under this project from six to eight floors. "The first apartments for the security forces will be completed at the end of February, in early March in Vranje, and we are starting construction of another 8,000 apartments and will start the tender procedure by the end of April," said the Deputy Prime Minister.

 

Mihajlovic said that about 130 kilometers of new highways were released for traffic in 2019 and that amendments to the Law on Road Transport of Passengers should, among other things, enable more efficient harmonization of timetables in public long-distance traffic, which will follow the dynamics of construction of new highways.


She emphasized that about € 500 million is invested in water transport, and that the amendments to the Law on Navigation and Inland Ports will enable more efficient implementation of projects by transferring certain competencies from the Port Management Agency to the resor ministry and regulating the so-called minimum level of cost-effectiveness of port services. The second law in this area, the Bill on the Hydrographic Activity, aims to regulate the legal framework for this activity and contribute to greater navigation safety.

 

National envoys, as she stated, also have two proposals for decisions on confiscation of the property of goods use for the general use of the railway infrastructure. "It is a railway infrastructure that does not even physically exist for about 400 kilometers, and it does exist in the books of the railway and it pays certain fees, so these decisions will make it possible to return unused land to the state," she added.


In addition to these laws, the draft Law on Ratification of the Air Transport Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Bill on the Confirmation of Annex I to the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Government of the Republic of Turkey on cooperation in the field of infrastructure projects are on the agenda.