Serbia to complete Corridor 10 highways with own funds

Serbian Minister of Finance Mladjan Dinkic has said that the Serbian government decided at its session today to finish work on Corridor 10 highways in southern Serbia with its own funds.

Dinkic told a press conference following the session that the total investment is worth €900 million, and the Greek government will help with €100 million through the Hellenic Plan for the Economic Reconstruction of the Balkans, and €800 million will be allocated from funds for the National Investment Plan.

He pointed to the fact that Serbia after many decades is for the first time in a position to have high investment revenues and recalled that from just three transactions, the privatisation of Mobi 063 and two banks, revenues worth €1.650 billion have been realised.

According to Dinkic, it was an opportunity to begin realisation of the National Investment Plan on the one hand, and to strengthen it on the other. That is why the decision was brought that Serbia will with its own funds, without loans, finish the Corridor 10 in southern Serbia – the highway from Leskovac to the Hungarian border, and the highway from Nis to Dimitrovgrad explained Minister Dinkic.

Dinkic said that the government also brought conclusions at its session today according to which the Ministry of Finance was authorized to forward an initiative to the Paris Club of Creditors that some $1 billion in foreign debt be exchanged for investments in Corridor 10, ecological projects and the construction of infrastructure in poor municipalities of Serbia. He said that directly after the session he signed the initiative and forwarded it to the secretariat of the Paris Club of Creditors.

Dinkic recalled that Serbia’s total current debt to the Paris Club of Creditors stands at €1.6 billion and we have 17 creditor countries, and added that the government is ready to begin negotiations with each of the countries on exchange of debt for investments in one of the three priority areas mentioned.

Speaking on the initiative for exchanging foreign debt for investments, Dinkic explained that according to the contract concluded in 2001 with the Paris Club creditors, Serbia has the right to exchange 20% of the debt from that period for investments in accordance with priorities, which in Serbia’s case is some $1 billion.

He said that the economic policy of the Serbian government which is being continuously implemented for two years and a half and is showing first concrete results, for instance the record foreign direct investments of this year worth €3.5 billion, relatively low inflation a strong dinar, and an extraordinarily high economic growth rate of 7% to 8%.

According to Dinkic, at today’s session the negotiating team for implementing the government’s platform for visa relaxations and negotiations with the EU was also appointed.