Damjanović: Montenegro will become a new Estonia

Sanja Damjanović

The adoption of the Law on Innovation and the Law on Incentives for the Development of Research and Innovation in the Parliament creates new opportunities for boosting foreign investment in Montenegro, Minister of Science, Ms Sanja Damjanović, told Dnevne Novine daily, emphasizing that they [investment] make our country an attractive destination for technological entrepreneurship and testing new technologies.

In late July, the Parliament of Montenegro passed two reform laws in the field of innovation and technological development, which represent a basic measure for strengthening the IT economy and functioning of the national innovative ecosystem.

The expected outcomes of the new legislative framework, the Minister of Science assessed for Dnevne Novine daily, would result in an increase in the number of startups with export potential, as well as the number of employees in the technology sector, but also a significantly higher investment in the innovative economy. This all would further improve the competitiveness and contribute to the economic growth and decrease of the talent drain.

“The govt backs the development of the innovative economy, and it’s obvious that key catalysts here are the IT sector and digitalization. Our goal is to make the IT sector a key industry in Montenegro, but also to technologically empower our traditionally strong industries – energy, tourism and agriculture”, Minister Damjanović underlined.

The govt has been investing in this sector for a long time even though well aware that we still lack a functional national innovation ecosystem.

“We often mention Estonia as an example of a country that has been fully digitalized, but our country lacked an encouraging legislative framework. I’m glad that the parliament unanimously passed our two great reform laws. Now there’s a chance for Montenegro to become a new Estonia, as these two laws offer a range of incentives and reliefs in this area,” said the Minister, adding that we were among the few countries that didn’t arranged the system in this way.

She continued: “”It will be easier to start a business, because our startups will get up to 5-year waiver from taxes from the date of their setting up, it will be much easier to hire in innovation area because a significant reduction of taxes and contributions – up to 50% – is now prescribed, and in this way we will reach the level of Estonia. Another great measure is the 100 percent income tax exemption for reinvesting in innovative activities or investing in startups, and practically no one in Europe has this measure, which indicates that our law is original, not copy-paste, but still harmonized with our business community.”

Asked whether Montenegro really had a chance to be competitive on the global market, the Minister said YES, having in mind the current situation and the existing 500 IT companies in the country of which innovative companies make up a significant share.


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