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Press release from 15th Cabinet session

Press release from 15th Cabinet session
Published date 18.03.2021 19:30 | Author PR Service

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The Montenegrin Cabinet, at its 15th session held on 18 March 2021, chaired by Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapić, adopted the Draft Law on Ratification of the Agreement between the Government of Montenegro and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland relating to air transport. The reason for signing the Agreement is the withdrawal of Great Britain from the European Union since that ends the application of the multilateral Agreement on the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA). In order to further ensure the smooth and efficient flow of air traffic in the new circumstances, Montenegro and the United Kingdom were obliged to sign a bilateral agreement which, until the completion of internal legal procedures in both countries, would be provisionally applied from the date of Britain's exit from the European Union.

The Information on concluding the Agreement on Trade, Partnership and Cooperation between Montenegro and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was also adopted. The United Kingdom withdrew from the European Union on 31 January 2020, after the Withdrawal Agreement was reached with the EU during the transition period, which was valid until 31 December 2020. During the transition period, the British side proposed that the two countries sign a Partnership and Trade Agreement. The offered Draft represents amendments to certain parts of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Montenegro and the EU and contains all previously agreed positions within the current SAA, while the parts, i.e. EU-related processes are excluded. In this context, the relevant departments are in charge of forming a Working Group for conducting negotiations and concluding an Agreement, which will be coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Cabinet adopted the Decree on the manner of conducting procurements for military-diplomatic representatives and units of the Armed Forces of Montenegro in international forces and peacekeeping missions. The proposal of the decree prescribes the manner of conducting procurement of goods and services whose estimated value is less than EUR 40,000.00, i.e. procurement of works whose estimated value is less than EUR 100,000.00, as well as reporting on conducted procurement. It presrcribes that the procuring entity (military-diplomatic representative or commander of a unit of the Armed Forces of Montenegro in an international force or peacekeeping mission) conducts procurement by obtaining three bids and, depending on the type of procurement, negotiates or accepts a pro forma invoice, fiscal invoice or contract. In case there is no market competition for technical reasons, or the subject of procurement is a work of art, office supplies or catering services, as well as in case of urgent procurement, it is prescribed that the procuring entity may obtain a price or bid from one bidder.

The Decision on the formation of the Public Administration Reform Council was adopted. The Decision determines the scope, manner of work and composition of the members of the Council, which will be headed by the Prime Minister of Montenegro. The tasks of the Council are, among other things, to monitor the implementation of the Public Administration Reform Strategy with accompanying action plans and public financial management programme, ensure transparency of the public administration reform process, monitor priorities, dynamics and deadlines for measures and activities carried out by state bodies, state administration and local self-government and evaluate the achieved results in achieving the goals of the reform. The discussion emphasised that the ultimate goal of the reform is to provide a high-quality service to citizens, creating a public administration that will contribute to economic stability, increase the quality of life and economic competitiveness, and at the same time meet the conditions for EU membership. In order to fully achieve this, the Council includes representatives of key bodies responsible for reform activities, representatives of the civil sector, the Union of Municipalities and academic community, thus reaching a consensus that the reform is generally accepted.

In accordance with the new organisation of the state administration, the Cabinet also adopted the Decision on amendments to the Decision on the formation of the Information Security Council, in order to ensure continued work of this working body.

The Cabinet adopted the Information on the activities of the implementation of the "Special investment programmes of special importance for the business and economic interest of Montenegro", with proposals for further activities. The Information states that since the beginning of the implementation of the Special Programme, 131 applications for Montenegrin citizenship have been submitted to the Investment Agency, of which 37 passed all checks and were resolved positively, 12 were rejected due to the negative opinion of the International Eligibility Assessment Agent, while the remaining ones are in different stages of processing. Having in mind the reservations of the European Commission on this issue due to the possible difficulties of Montenegro's path to the EU, as well as the questionable purpose of the Programme and its contribution to economic development, given that only 37 citizenships of the planned limit of 2000 have been granted so far, the Cabinet decided that the Programme should not be extended after the expiration of its three-year duration on 31 December 2021.

The Report on implemented Investments was adopted, in accordance with the Decision on long-term lease of land on the Luštica Peninsula, Municipality of Herceg Novi, for the period from 1 December 2019 to 30 November 2020. The contract that envisages the lease of the site with a total area of ​​510,927 m2 for a period of 90 years was concluded on 11 September 2009 between the Government of Montenegro and the companies Northstar LLC Podgorica and Equest Capital limited - Channel Island. The contract defines total investment obligations in the amount of EUR 210 million, of which the minimum liabilities in the first phase are EUR 80 million that the Consortium must realise within 5 years from the date of the beginning of the investment period.

Bearing in mind that the implementation of the project is delayed due to the fact that the state administration and local self-government bodies did not efficiently and timely fulfill the undertaken obligations, the Cabinet instructed the Investment Agency to form an operational working team consisting of representatives of competent bodies, in cooperation with the Investor, to resolve all hitherto unrfulfilled obligations, such as the issue of expropriation, infrastructure, preparation of the Protocol on the commencement of the Minimum Investment Obligation, adoption of the Heritage impact assessments (HIAs). The Competitiveness Council was recommended to, within its competence, propose a model for eliminating systemic problems (business barriers) faced by investors in Montenegro, which have arisen due to inefficiency of state bodies.

The Cabinet adopted the Information on the implemented activities based on the Agreement on the long-term lease of the Military-Tourist Complex "Mediteran" Žabljak for 2020. The lease agreement for 13,951 m2 of land owned by Montenegro for a period of 30 years was concluded on 21 November 2018 between the Government of Montenegro and the Consortium "CG SKI", which consists of companies CG Ski LLC and Baltic International Trading LTD Estonia. The Investment obligation of the Lessee amounts to EUR 5,006,660.00 and the deadline for completion of works is 20 months, i.e. no later than 27 months from the beginning of works. The Cabinet stated that there was a violation of the provisions of the Agreement relating to deadlines related to the beginning of construction, due to the decision of the construction inspection to suspend the procedure for obtaining a building permit until harmonisation with the UNESCO Convention on Natural and Cultural Heritage. The Ministry of Ecology, Spatial Planning and Urbanism will, in the continuation of the dialogue with the representatives of UNESCO, define a proposal for further steps in resolving open issues.

The Cabinet adopted the Information on the consideration of reports, data, information and proposals of epidemiological measures to eliminate and eradicate infectious disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The Information states that the current epidemiological situation and the effects of the measures prescribed so far were the subject of consideration by the Council for the implementation of activities to eliminate and eradicate infectious disease caused by the novel coronavirus in Montenegro, at a session held on 15 March 2021. The Council, taking into account the epidemiological situation and the efforts of the health department, proposed and expressed the expectation that in the right measures would be imposed in favour of health protection and maintaining economic stability, while enabling the work of business entities. Furthermore, it is necessary to make a vaccination plan, with the expansion of vaccination capacities and increase of vaccination coverage. The Council expressed the expectation that 35% of citizens will be vaccinated by 15 June 2021, as well as that the hospital bed capacities would be expanded.

Due to the need to devise, propose and adopt the most appropriate anti-epidemic measures, the Cabinet adopted a Decision amending the Decision on the formation of the Council for the implementation of activities to eliminate and eradicate infectious disease caused by the novel coronavirus in Montenegro. This decision, in order to more comprehensively analyze the epidemiological situation in Montenegro, as well as to consider the proposed measures and their impact on the health of citizens and the overall economic environment, reorganised and increased the number of Council members, so that the President of the Council is the Prime Minister of Montenegro, while the Vice President of the Council is the Minister of Health. The composition of the Council has also been expanded by adding new members, ministers in charge of agriculture, interior and foreign affairs.

The Cabinet adopted the Information on the implementation of the short-term measure "Interest rate subsidy on the reprogramming of existing loans with Investement and Development Fund (IRF) and commercial banks" within the Third package of socio-economic measures. The Information states that, based on the processed requests received in the Public Invitation according to the one-time payment model agreed with commercial banks and the IRF, it was determined that the total amount required for the payment of approved subsidies is around seven million euros. On that occasion, the Ministry of Finance and Social Welfare is in charge of providing funds for the implementation of this measure, according to the specifications and reports of the Ministry of Economic Development.

The Information on the status of the implementation of the bypass project around Budva on the route of the expressway along the Montenegrin coast was adopted. Considering the current state of implementation of this project, the Cabinet assessed that the design process for the entire Budva bypass should be continued, which is financed from grants received from the European Commission through the Western Balkans Investment Framework mechanism, while finding financial resources for analysis of alternative bypass corridors around Budva in accordance with the recommendations of the Spatial Plan of special purpose for the coastal area of ​​Montenegro.

The Cabinet adopted the Proposal for giving consent for the loan indebtedness of the Municipality of Tivat with Crnogorska komercijalna banka AD Podgorica, in the amount of EUR 3,000,000.00.

The Cabinet gave its consent to the company "Regionalni vodovod Crnogorsko primorje" (Regiona water supply company for the Montenerin coast) to borrow EUR 1,500,000.00 from Universal Capital Bank AD Podgorica.