Serbia made 250 million dollars last year from software export, which is twice as much as we have made from raspberry export, believed to be the biggest export strength. In order to increase export and the number of IT companies the Government prepared an incentive program that should start in June.
IT sector is one of the rare ones that grew in the periods of crisis. In 2008, export in this sector was 128 million dollars, and in increased four times by the last year, to 246.29 million. Export of the entire agricultural sector for the first 11 months amounted to 2.51 billion dollars. This motivated the Ministry of Finance and Economy to promote the development of this branch.
Jasna Matić, Advisor in this Ministry, says for “Blic” that currently precise measures are considered and that they will intervene in four directions.
- Startup incentives will be given for initiating business, where IT is very beneficial since the initial investments are very low. A lot of countries provide such incentives, and we will allocate approximately EUR 25,000 for projects - said Matić.
It is planned, she continued, to reduce taxes and contributions for IT expert wages, and expand the program of SIEPA for exporter support, as the promotion of companies.
- Promotion would run in two directions. First, for our companies with products on foreign markets, especially banking software, in the developing countries, Central Asia, Africa, Middle East. Second, we would like for the international corporations to open development centers here, like "Microsoft". Now we analyze can our budget bear this – said Matić.
Dragana Petković, Executive Director of the organization SEE ICT, said that the proposals of the Government seem well thought out and that they can contribute to the development of IT industry.
- It is good that the Government thinks like this since the software is the future. Large initial investment is not required for such companies, but they need help in developing latest knowledge – she claims.
Vladislav Čale, Director of the IT company “SVM United Business Solutions”, said that they financed themselves so far, and still managed to reach foreign market.
- For now, we export business software to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, and we have plans for the Czech Republic. We hope to reach new markets with the aid from the Government. Every form of help would increase our chances – said Čale.
Tax reliefs and subsidies for startup companies is a model providing significant results globally, and this is something we can use, is the opinion of Aleksandra Popara from "Egzekom".
- In order to be able to match global players, we need to promote the potential we have. If the program starts, we can expect the growth of income from IT industry, which is, naturally, a link in a chain of the economic growth of Serbia – she said.
Jasna Matić expects program for support measures for the IT sector to be adopted by the end of February.
- After the adoption of the program, presentation follows on the largest IT Fair Cebit, from 05 May to 09 May. Then tenders for projects and public procurements shall be announced, and it is realistic that the program should start in June - said Matić.
Article taken from newspaper “Blic”