AmCham Macedonia Summer 2016 (issue 50) - Page 10

COVER STORY Summer 2016 / Issue 50 Serbia’s Inspection Oversight Law: a Business Environment Boost This new law is a critical element of Serbia’s efforts to improve its business environment and the efficiency of its inspection bodies. U ntil 2015, legitimate businesses in Serbia were subjected to frequent and often unwarranted inspections controls and related misdemeanor fines. This was a significant regulatory, administrative and financial burden for legitimate businesses, while firms operating in the informal economy were often unobstructed. This situation is now improving, thanks to an umbrella Law on Inspections Oversight that is being applied by all 34 inspectorates in the country. After the failure of several inspections reform initiatives in the 2000s, USAID’s Business Enabling Project (BEP) began a new initiative in 2011 based on analysis and dialogue, supported by an extensive outreach campaign. Public-private dialogue led to a consensus among businesses, experts, and even many inspectors that Serbia needed an umbrella inspections law that would resolve key issues. The stakeholders agreed that the law should mandate inspections coordination and prevention measures and 10 AMCHAM MAGAZINE Author: Milan Stefanovic, USAID Serbia Business Enabling Project Expert practices, and eliminate sanctions for unintentional offenses. An umbrella law would ensure consistency of procedures and methods and effective and efficient protection of citizens and legitimate businesses. Despite this consensus and the fact that 78% of businesses in the USAID BEP’s 2011 Business Survey stated that inspections were one of the major constraints to their competitiveness, the Government of Serbia showed weak interest in inspections reform. In response, the project continued working with business associations to publicize problems and advocate for inspections reform. Also, the project’s experts worked with inspectorates on a Model Law on Inspections and developed studies on how inspection oversight could be improved as well as the key role of inspections in fighting the shadow economy. Finally, the USAID BEP together with AmCham Serbia and other business associations finally succeeded in obtaining a commitment from the Ministry of State Administration and Local Self-Government to reform the inspection oversight system. The Ministry and USAID BEP jointly developed the Explanatory Concept of the Draft Law and Draft Law on Inspection Oversight, based on the Model Law on Inspections. Project and Ministry experts also developed a comprehensive Rationale and Regulatory Impact Analysis. In parallel, the Government of Serbia adopted a Strategy on Public Administration Reform, which included inspections reform as a strategic priority (that section was jointly developed by the Ministry and the USAID BEP). From the outset, the drafting process was extremely challenging, part X[\HX]\Hو\]Y[[\[ݙ\Y[[]\H\\[H][[[Xܘ]\H[\ˈ[\H[[\\Hݙ\YH[˜\Z[]H[\\[XX[\ܝH\X[[ܙZYۈ^\H[ \X\Y]YX[][X][ۜ[\ZYۋ[X[X[XX\]]HX[YKH]]ۈ[X[ۈݙ\Y\YYۈ\[