Montenegro is situated on the Balkan Peninsula, at the heart of Europe. Although it has a territory of only 14,000km2 and a population of some 630,000, its contribution to World Heritage is impressive. Montenegro borders with Italy (the border runs along the Adriatic Sea), Serbia and Kosovo (to the east), Bosnia and Herzegovina (to the north), Albania (to the south) and Croatia (to the west). The border is 614 km long. The coast is 293 km long. There are two international airports – in Podgorica and Tivat. There are ports in Bar, Kotor, Zelenika and Tivat, and ferry routes Bar-Bari-Bar and Bar-Ancona-Bar. The railroad connects Bar, Podgorica, Belgrade and Budapest.

Since the restoration of independence in 2006, Montenegro has made strides in social and economic development, reinforced its position as the economically most developed country of the Western Balkans and proven to be a safe, politically stable and economically viable country with potential for fast growth. Its security and prosperity have facilitated prospective EU and NATO integration; in March 2012, Montenegro became a full member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Over the past ten years, Montenegro has made significant economic progress, as illustrated by the following: average annual real GDP growth of 3.2%; real average wage increase by 33%; pension increase of approximately 100%; increase in employment by approximately 46,000. With regard to the Human Development Index (HDI), a key quality of life indicator published by the UNDP, Montenegro was ranked 51st on the list of 187 countries in 2014, falling into the category of countries with high HDI. According to most of the indicators mentioned earlier, Montenegro ranked higher than the rest of the countries of the region, except Croatia, and even some of the EU countries.

Over the past four years, Montenegro has managed to keep its macroeconomic stability and come out of the recession that marked 2012. The average annual economic growth has been around 3%. The total number of employed persons has grown by approx. 28,000 in the past four years. Foreign direct investments (FDIs) amounted to €1.3 billion in 2013-2015, which made up some 13% of annual GDP. Average wages and pensions have increased and are the highest in the region. National budget revenues in 2015 were higher by 19% than in 2012. At the same time, a number of major development projects impacting economic development have commenced or continued, leading to an increase in the capital budget expenditures. The external economic imbalance was mitigated by means of reducing the current account balance of payments deficit to cca. 13.3% of GDP in 2015.

In the context of the global economic crisis, programmes aiming to eliminate barriers to new investment projects and a more conducive business environment became imperative. In this regard, adoption of new laws, harmonized with the EU ones, and implementation of the institutional reform in the fiscal system and financial sector helped towards considerable improvement of the business environment in the country.

The economic growth model will remain unchanged in the upcoming period and will rely mainly on FDIs. Growth potential has been identified in the sectors of tourism, energy, agriculture and industry, which are the strategic development priorities. The economic policy will therefore focus on enhancing the competitiveness of the economy, along with implementation of   structural reforms and development of infrastructure, all with the aim to create the preconditions for more domestic and foreign investments. The emphasis is on sustainable growth, centred on fiscal sustainability and aligned with the EU agenda.

Investments and projections

FDIs amounted to €757.4 million in 2015.  In addition, total projected planned investments amount to €610 million in 2016, €961.3 million in 2017 and €1,010.6 million in 2018.

Strong investment activity is anticipated in the sectors of transport, tourism, energy and agriculture; it is expected to push the value of capital, which in turn will lead to an increase in potential economic activity rates. The expected annual GDP growth in the medium-term perspective, from 2015 to 2018, is 3.6%. This should come as a result of a robust investment cycle, with investment in infrastructure (Smokovac-Mateševo section of the Bar‐Boljare motorway, equal to 20% of GDP) and the announced investments in energy, tourism and agriculture. Significant investments, equal to at least 30% of GDP, have also been announced in tourism, energy, industry and agriculture.

Although the 2015 baseline is quite high, tourism revenues will grow in the medium-term at the rate of 7.1%, due to diversified supply and more high-income tourists. This growth comes as a result of the qualitative change on the supply side, with the announced construction of prestigious hotels.

The planned investment in infrastructure – the motorway section, reconstruction and investment in local roads – will help remove the barriers to growth and harnessing of the economy’s potential.

A number of activities have been implemented to enhance competitiveness and attract FDIs: adoption of the Decree on Business Zones and designation of nine Business Zones of Local Importance (in Kolašin, Berane, Nikšić, Bijelo Polje, Podgorica, Cetinje, Mojkovac, Ulcinj and Rožaje); adoption of the Decree on  fostering direct investments; state subsidies schemes within the Cluster Development Programme and Programme for Enhancing Regional and Local Competitiveness through Harmonization with the International Business Standards 2014‐2016; amendments to the Law on Foreign Investments (Official Gazette of MNE 18, dated 1 April 2011, 45/14), largely facilitating better investment climate.

Treatment of foreign investors

Foreign investors may invest in any industry and are free to transfer funds, assets and other goods, including profit or dividend. Foreign investors enjoy national treatment, i.e. have the same status as the domestic ones.   

Foreign investors include: foreign physical or legal persons with headquarters abroad; companies with more than 25% of foreign capital; Montenegrin citizens residing abroad for more than 12 months, or companies set up by foreign citizens in Montenegro.

Foreign investments are implementable through:

  • Setting up of a new company (independently or together with other investors);
  • Investing in existing companies;
  • Setting up a foreign company branch;
  • Purchase of a company.

 

Visa regime for foreign citizens

Holders of travel documents containing a valid Schengen visa, a valid visa of the United States of America, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland, or a permission to stay in these countries, may enter and stay, or pass through the territory of Montenegro up to 30 days, and not longer than the expiry of visa, if the period of validity of the visa is less than 30 days.

Holders of travel documents issued by the European Union Member States or the United States of America, Kingdom of Norway, Republic of Iceland, Swiss Confederation, Canada, Commonwealth of Australia, New Zealand and Japan based on the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951) or Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons (1954), as well as Travel Documents for Foreigners may enter, pass through the territory of and stay in Montenegro up to 30 days without a visa.

Mere possession of a visa does not grant the entry to Montenegro. Other legal requirements for granting a foreigner the right to enter and stay in Montenegro must also be met, according to the Law on Foreigners (“Official Gazette of Montenegro” 56/14, 28/15 and 16/16).

Visa regime between Montenegro and other countries is regulated by the Decree on visa regime (“Official Gazette of Montenegro” 35/16).

Visa in itself does not grant of permission to work in Montenegro. Person who intends to work in Montenegro must obtain a temporary residence permit for the purpose of employment or seasonal work, on the grounds of previously issued work permit.

Purchase of real estate

Foreigners in Montenegro have the right to purchase real estate under the conditions fulfilled by domestic entities and by presenting an identification document. However, according to the Law on Property Relations, a foreigner cannot own natural resources, public goods, agricultural land, forests and forest land, cultural monuments of great and special importance, real estate in a land-border area up to a depth of one kilometre and islands, real estate located in an area which was declared by law an area in which foreigners cannot have right of ownership in view of protecting the interests and security of the country.

Exceptionally, foreigners may also acquire the right of ownership on agricultural land, forests and forest land having a surface area of up to 5,000 m2, only if a residential building located on that land is the subject of the contract of divestiture (sale, gift, exchange, etc.).

Foreigners may be entitled to a long-term lease, concession, BOT and other arrangements of public-private partnership over the above mentioned real estate.

By means of legal transactions, foreigners may transfer the right of ownership to domestic persons, as well as to foreign persons eligible for that right.

Fiscal policy

Based on the principles of competitiveness, predictability and consistency, the fiscal policy has been one of Montenegro’s economic policy instruments since the introduction of the euro in 2002.

The medium-term fiscal framework relies on the macroeconomic growth scenario and reforms across the whole system, primarily the implemented and planned changes in the fiscal regulatory framework, including the following:  a) general measures concerning further intensive fight against informal economy, with emphasis on the labour market and excised products and discontinuation of privileged retirement options; b) revenue-side measures: keeping the general VAT rate at 19% as well as the rates applicable to some categories of products (0% and 7%); gradual increase of the tobacco excise, in line with the excise calendar; tax on coffee and lottery winnings.

Responsible expenditure of budgetary funds will continue to be the underlying principle of national budget management. The fiscal policy is focused on the public debt, while acknowledging the need to finance the capital/infrastructure projects which generate considerable investment spending during construction and have multiplier effects on the entire economy. In the longer run, implementation of these investments will result in greater economic growth and more equitable development of the country. Capital investments may affect fiscal indicators in the medium-term perspective; however, in the long-term one, they contribute to more efficient utilization of local resources, enhanced competitiveness of the economy, faster economic growth, increased employment, more revenues, lower share of public debt in the GDP, and ultimately to better living standard.

To enhance utilization of major resources and bring in new investments, the tax reform policy introduced fiscal incentives for investments in the following sectors: high-end tourism – hotels with 5 or more stars; food production, except primary agricultural production, and capital  investments in the energy sector. When investing in these sectors, the investors become entitled to exemption from VAT, utility charges and other fees and charges.

With the aim to eliminate business barriers and incentivize high-end tourism, the Law Amending the Law on Real Estate Tax allows local governments to set a higher tax base of 2%-5.5% of the market value of the real estate for hospitality establishments with up to 3 stars situated at priority tourism sites, depending on the category of the establishment; local governments are also allowed to lower the tax rate for the hospitality establishments that operate throughout the year, by up to 30% for the  4-star ones and up to 70% for those with more than 4 stars.

The Law on VAT allows those investing in hotels with five or more stars to be exempt from VAT on the delivery of products and services for construction and furnishing of any hospitality establishment with 5 or more stars, any energy-generation facility with more than 10 MW installed capacity, or any food production plant categorized within sector C group 10 under the Law on Business Activity Classification (Official Gazette of MNE 18/11), if the investment exceeds €500,000.

Tax system

The tax system in Montenegro includes:

  • Corporate Income Tax;
  • Personal Income Tax;
  • Value Added Tax (VAT);
  • Real Estate Transfer Tax;
  • Social security contributions;
  • Excise duties;
  • Fees;
  • Customs duties.

 

The tax system for foreign investors is the same as for local business entities.

Corporate income tax amounts to 9%. The tax rate on personal income is 9% i.e. 11% on gross wages higher than EUR 720. Upon payment of corporate income tax, business entities operating in Montenegro have the possibility to transfer funds to their accounts abroad at the end of the year.

Two positive rates of VAT are applied, namely the standard rate of 19% and the reduced rate of 7% (for basic foodstuffs, such as milk, bread, lard, cooking oil and sugar; medicines and some medical devices; books, textbooks and teaching aids; potable water; feed; fertilizers and breeding livestock; plant protection products and propagation material; some services, such as accommodation, public passenger transport, public hygiene, funeral services, copyright and services from the field of education, literature or art, use of sports facilities for non-profit causes,  copyright in science or related to artefacts, collections and antiquities, and services where tickets are charged for cultural or sports events).

The zero rate applies to export transactions and delivery of medicines and medical devices that are funded by the Health Insurance Fund of Montenegro.

Real estate transfer tax rate is proportional and amounts to 3% of the tax base.

Compulsory social insurance is covered by the employees, employers, entrepreneurs and farmers who are not contributors to unemployment insurance.

The contributions for compulsory social insurance are:

  • Contribution for compulsory pension and disability insurance;
  • Contribution for compulsory health insurance;
  • Contribution for unemployment insurance.

Contribution rates vary, depending on the category of taxpayers, and are determined by the Law on Compulsory Social Insurance.

The Law on Excise Duties governs the system and introduces the obligation to pay excise duties for individual goods and services that are released for free circulation on the territory of Montenegro.

The three excise products in Montenegro are:

  • Alcohol and spirituous beverages;
  • Tobacco products;
  • Mineral oils, their derivatives and substitutes.

Excise duty payers calculate the excise duty for the calendar month themselves.

The types of fees in Montenegro payable by investors are:

  • Administrative fees;
  • Court fees;
  • Utility fees;
  • Registration fees;
  • Sojourn fees.

The basis of the customs system in Montenegro consists of the Law on Customs Tariff and the Customs Law. Customs clearance under this law, includes receipt of import customs declaration, inspection of goods and classification according to the customs tariff and other tariffs, fixing the customs basis, amount of customs duties and other import duties charged on the goods, collection of fixed customs duty amounts and other import duties.

According to the law, investors may be eligible for exemption from customs duties if investing in hotels with five or more stars, energy facilities or processing facilities.

VAT refund

If the tax liability (output tax) for the taxable period is lower than the input VAT, deductible for the same period, the difference is either recorded as tax credit for the coming period or refunded, following the taxpayer’s request, within 60 days from the date of submission of the VAT return.

To taxpayers who are predominantly involved in export and those who have shown excess input VAT in three consecutive VAT assessments this difference is refunded within 30 days from the date of submission of VAT return.

In the event of taxpayer defaulting on the payment of other taxes, such tax arrears are subtracted from the VAT refund due.

International agreements

The signed bilateral agreements enable the investors who decide to do business in Montenegro to export their products to a market of more than 800 million people.

·         Free trade agreements (FTAs)

Montenegro joined the Central European Free Trade Agreement – CEFTA (http://www.privrednakomora.me/cefta). Montenegro also signed the FTAs with EFTA (http://www.privrednakomora.me/efta – the common market that includes Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein), Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.

Implementation of these FTAs, which ensure application of national treatment and the most-favoured-nation principle in relation to customs duties, brings about greater volume of trade and a conducive environment for foreign investments.

·         Economic cooperation agreements

Since re-gaining its independence, Montenegro signed 20 agreements on economic cooperation, aiming to establish the institutional framework for cooperation through reinforced and enhanced economic interests. The agreements are in place with Romania, the Republic of Austria, the Republic of Bulgaria, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Serbia, the State of Qatar, the Republic of Turkey, the Republic of Macedonia, the Republic of Slovenia, the Hellenic Republic, the Republic of Croatia, Germany, Spain, the Republic of Azerbaijan, the United Arab Emirates, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, the Republic of Albania, and the Abruzzo Region in the Republic of Italy. The agreements identify the areas of mutual interest and focus on the following: industry, agriculture, forestry, water management, energy, research and development, construction industry and infrastructure, transport and logistics, environmental protection, tourism, investment promotion, SME cooperation, ICT and services.

·         Agreements on the mutual promotion and protection of investments

These agreements seek to ensure a stable framework for investment and better use of economic resources. They define the conditions for investments, allowing free transfer of funds, the right of subrogation, compensation in the event of expropriation and settlement of disputes between investors and countries, including the settlement of disputes between the countries themselves.

Since re-gaining its independence, Montenegro has signed 26 agreements on the mutual promotion and protection of investments. Agreements are in place with: Austria, Slovakia, the Republic of Serbia, the Czech Republic, the Republic of Finland, the Kingdom of Denmark, the State of Qatar, the Belgium-Luxemburg Economic Union, the Republic of Macedonia, Malta, France, the Hellenic Republic, the Netherlands, Israel, Cyprus, Romania, Ukraine, Hungary, Germany, Poland, Spain, the Republic of Turkey, the Swiss Confederation, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Moldova, and the United Arab Emirates.

·         Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA)

On 15 October 2007, Montenegro signed the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) in Luxembourg, thus establishing a legal foundation for relations with the EU. On the basis of the SAA, Montenegro has successfully developed institutional political dialogue with the EU, which is being undertaken through a joint structure for monitoring the implementation of commitments.

Following the ratification in all EU member-States, the SAA entered into force on 1 May 2010. The ratification process took two years and seven months, and in the meantime the Interim Agreement was in force, which was associated with trade and trade-related issues within the Commission remits.

The SAA is an international agreement between the signatory State and the EU which sets up a legal framework for cooperation and gradual alignment with European standards. The SAA’s entry into force marked a new phase of integration, which made it formally binding on Montenegro to align its legislation with the EU acquis, as well as to align positions and policies in all areas of cooperation.

Decree on fostering direct investment

The Decree outlines the financial incentives for new investment in Montenegro and aims to improve the business environment and enhance the competitiveness of the economy. The Decree aims to attract new investors, increase employment, in particular in the less developed areas, and balance out regional disparities. Availability of adequate incentives will directly influence the investment-related decisions of the potential investors considering positioning themselves on the Montenegrin market.

The investors implementing investment projects in Montenegro are eligible for the financial incentives approved by the Government of Montenegro.

The funds to incentivize investments are allocated following a public announcement. Eligible investment projects include those of minimum worth of €500,000 which generate at least 20 new jobs over the course of three years, from the date of signing the agreement on the use of funds (in the Capital City and the southern region), or those worth at least €250,000 which generate at least 10 new jobs (in the northern and central region, excluding the Capital City). The incentives range from €3,000 to €10,000 per new job. In addition, any capital investment in excess of €10 million and generating at least 50 new jobs is eligible for incentives of up to 17% of its worth. The Decree also envisages the possibility to reimburse the costs of construction of the infrastructure required to implement the investment project.

According to the Decree, foreign investors become eligible to access the funds if they set up a company in Montenegro.

The stages of the procedure for allocation of the funds to foster foreign investment:

The amount is set at up to 50% of the eligible costs of implementation of the investment project in case of large companies, up to 60% for medium-sized companies and up to 70% for small companies.[1]

Funds amounting to up to 17% of the total value of the investment project may be allocated for capital investments without prior scoring procedure, in line with the Decree.

More information on the Decree on fostering direct investments is available at: http://www.srp.gov.me/naslovna/uredba_investicije/156942/Nova-Uredba-o-podsticanju-direktnih-investicija.html.

 

Promotion Programme of Business Development – Business Zones

At the meeting held on 29 December 2011, the Government of Montenegro adopted this Programme, which included the plan for development of Business Zones.  Business Zones are unique entities at the territories of the respective local governments; they are partly or fully connected to the utilities and potential investors gain access, in addition to shared premises, to additional tax and administrative reliefs both at the national and local level. The project aims to incentivize production industries on the land plots with available connections to utilities, enhance employment in the less developed local governments, and activate the capital of the domestic and foreign investors who can identify interest in the implementation and advancement of this project at considerably lower costs.

The Decree on Business Zones has been adopted; it categorizes them as either Business Zone of Strategic Importance, designated and managed by the Government of Montenegro, or Business Zones of Local Importance, designated and managed by the local governments. The Decree also defines the model of business zone designation, establishment and management, entry requirements, eligible activities, connections to utilities, and national incentives.

Investors in both categories of Business Zones will be granted national- and local-level incentives. At the national level, the employers who hire staff to work in a Business Zone are exempt from the contribution for compulsory insurance paid to salaries and from personal income tax. Local-level reliefs include:

  • Lower utility and other fees;
  • Favourable lease/purchase of premises within the business zone;
  • Lower or zero surtax to PIT;
  • Lower real estate tax rate;
  • Opportunity to define a favourable public-private partnership model;
  • Access to utilities, where required.

In addition to the reliefs described above, which are available only in the Business Zones, the investors operating on these sites have access to other national- and local-level reliefs, such as subsidies under the Decree on fostering direct investment, Investment and Development Fund (IDF) loans and similar support programmes, all in line with state aid rules.

Nine local governments have identified Business Zones of Local Importance to date, enabling the investors to invest under favourable terms in Berane, Bijelo Polje, Kolašin, Mojkovac, Cetinje, Nikšić, Podgorica, Ulcinj and Rožaje.

· Cluster Development Programme in Montenegro

A comprehensive legislative, strategic and institutional approach to development of SMEs is a prerequisite for strengthening the competitiveness of Montenegrin enterprises and ensuring a more equitable regional development. Cluster formation is of particular importance for greater competitiveness of entrepreneurs, micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

Enhanced entrepreneurship and competitiveness resulting from cluster formation contribute to greater employment, import substitution, increased domestic production and export, better business environment, more equitable regional development and more effective harnessing of natural resources and production capacities.

The Programme aims to provide financial support to the entrepreneurs and 100% privately owned MSMEs within clusters through investment in tangible or intangible assets or operational costs, in order to strengthen the capacities of clusters and their positioning in the local and international market. This financial support scheme is based on reimbursement of a certain share of costs.

The Ministry of Economy will cover up to 65% of the eligible costs of the purchase value of equipment, excluding VAT, for the clusters operating in the less developed local governments, or up to 50% of the eligible costs for the clusters from other regions; the maximum amount per applicant is €10,000. The remaining 35% or 50% of the costs of purchase of equipment are covered by the applicants themselves. In line with the reimbursement scheme, the enterprise covers 100% of all the costs of purchase of equipment in question and gets reimbursed upon submitting relevant documents.

The strategic priority activities eligible for co-financing include the following:

  • Agricultural production and processing,
  • Wood processing,
  • Other manufacturing activities (except those not included in the Programme).

The Investment and Development Fund of Montenegro implements the Programme through direct loans (http://www.irfcg.me/me/2015-01-13-12-25-17/program-podrske-klasterima), using the European Investment Bank funds for this purpose. Loans are available at the interest rate lower by 0.50 % than the rate presented below.

Loan terms:

  • Maximum amount of up to €500,000 (exceptionally, the IDF Board of Directors may approve a larger amount, in line with the specific criteria);
  • Minimum amount of €10,000;
  • 00% annual interest calculated pro rata;
  • Repayment term of 8 years (incl. grace period);
  • Grace period of up to 2 years.

Specific terms:

  • The projects implemented in the northern region of the country are approved the 3.50% interest annual interest calculated pro rata.

 

·  Programme for Enhancing Regional and Local Competitiveness through Harmonization with International Standards of Business for the period 2014-2016

The Programme aims to support entrepreneurs and SMEs, in particular the ones from the less developed municipalities and the northern region, to enhance their competitiveness through harmonization with the international standards related to products, management systems, staff, testing, control and certification and support for conformity assessment accreditation.

Within Component I, the 2014-2016 Programme reimburses up to 70% of the eligible costs of accreditation of the companies accredited for conformity assessment, for the standard series MEST EN ISO/IEC 17000 (17025, 17020, 17021, 17065, 17024) – accreditation of metrology and test laboratories, certification bodies, control bodies etc. The costs of accreditation for the conformity assessment bodies will be reimbursed only if the company is accredited by the Accreditation Body of Montenegro.

Component II of the 2014-2016 Programme reimburses up to 70% of the eligible costs for voluntary implementation/introduction of the following standards (with certification and re-certification): a)  MEST EN ISO 9001 series b) MEST ISO 14001 standard  c) MEST OHSAS 18000 series d) HALAL instructions e) MEST EN 22000 standard. Component II reimburses the costs of introduction or implementation of standards, including: hiring of consultants; assessment of situation – relations between processes and/or risk analysis with critical points, for HACCP and MEST ISO 22000; development of documents.

The organizational-operational segment of the Programme is managed by the Ministry of Economy.

All the incentives presented above are available to companies provided that all the set requirements have been met.

 

 Montenegro’s Industrial Policy by 2020

Aiming to enhance innovation among the SMEs working in the processing industry and modernize industry, the Ministry of Economy developed two state-aid programmes, which are currently being implemented.

 

·  Programme to enhance innovation in SMEs in 2016

The Programme is implemented with the aim to enhance the innovation potential of SMEs and strengthen cooperation with innovative organizations (science-and-research institutions, science and technology parks, centers of excellence, innovation-entrepreneurship centers, business incubators, consultancy companies) and to advance research and development and turn results into development of new products, processes, organization models and marketing improvements.  This grant support scheme for more competitive and innovative SMEs is intended to  help improve the efficiency of the enterprises working in the processing industry through improved products, business processes, methods, techniques and strategies, changed business routines, innovation-related staff qualifications and potential,  greater market share and ultimately increased sales and revenues.

Under the Programme, an enterprise is required to cover up to 100% of the costs of the external consultant for the innovative activity; following the completion of the activity, the enterprise becomes eligible for a reimbursement of up to 50% of the eligible costs, or €2,500excl. VAT. The remaining 50% of the costs need to be covered from the enterprise’s own sources.

·  Pilot project – Programme to support industry modernization

Bearing in mind that the existing range ad type of equipment used in the enterprises, the situation and developments on the market hinder a long-term increase in production, the Government of Montenegro adopted this Pilot Programme on 17 June 2016. It aims to strengthen competitiveness of companies and upgrade business operation, productivity and profitability by investing in equipment.

The Programme includes co-financing of the eligible costs of purchase of equipment – up to 20% for small and 10% for medium-sized enterprises, excl. VAT, in line with state aid rules. The remaining funds are provided through the IDF lending scheme. The funds allocated to the Programme are intended to co-finance the costs of purchase of new/used production equipment/machines or new parts and specialized tools, to enable activation of unused machines.

Such advanced level of equipment and implementation of new technologies will enable modernization of production processes, efficient use of available resources, development of new products and services, and generation of new jobs.

[1] Small company is any company with fewer than 50 employees and annualturnover or total annual balance lower than €10 mil.

Medum-sized company is any company with 50 to 250 employees and annual turnover lower than €50 mil or total annual balance sheet lower than €43 mil.

Large company is any company with more than 250 employees and total annual balance sheet above €43 mil.

Several multi-million projects are currently underway in Montenegro:

Bar-Boljare Motorway. The priority section Smokovac-Uvač-Mateševo is 41km long. The construction of this section within the contractual deadline of 48 months (the project started in May 2015) requires the Contractor to develop the Main Design, build the section in question, purchase and install the required equipment and systems. Design and construction of the initial section will cost €.809.6 million.  85% of this amount, €.688.16 million, will be secured through the Exim Bank loan, while 15%, or € 121.44 million, will be funded by the government.

Adriatic-Ionian Motorway. The project of the Coastal Expressway aims to improve connectivity within the region and between the region and the EU. This is a strategic project for the SEE region and the Balkans. Its completion will ensure a high-capacity and high-quality corridor connecting Central Europe and Northern Italy with the Ionian Peninsula and spanning Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania and Greece.

The expressway will also enable Montenegro to connect to the network of top-category roads and establish a modern transport system consisting of all transversal, main, regional and existing roads. The coastal expressway will run along the hinterland, beginning close to the border with the Republic of Croatia, near Herceg-Novi, and then stretching for approx.110km from Herceg Novi across the Bay of Kotor to Tivat, Budva, Bar and Ulcinj to Sukobin (the border with the  Republic of Albania).

The project is estimated at €950 million, with around €44 million required to develop the project design.

Construction of the underwater cable between Montenegro and Italy. The project envisages the construction of the new interconnection with the capacity of 1,000MW – the underwater cable and the grid. The project is being implemented by the Montenegrin Power Transmission System (CGES) and the Government of Montenegro through a strategic partnership with the Italian power grid operator Terna.

The project is worth cca. €900 million. It is important in terms of infrastructure connection between the Western Balkans and the EU, as well as in terms of the preconditions for faster development of the entire region, also in line with the EU directives. The Italian side has installed some 140km of the cable; the launch event on the Montenegrin side took place on 4 October 2016. The cable is expected to be operational in late 2018 or early 2019.

Pljevlja Thermal Power Plant Unit II.  The Building Contract worth €324.5 million was signed on 29 September 2016 by the EPCG (Electric Power Company of Montenegro) and the Skoda Praha Company from the Czech Republic. The investment is of high importance for Montenegro, given that this is the first major power plant to be built after 35 years. The project includes the thermal station for the remote district heating system for the town of Pljevlja. The new unit will comply with the strictest requirements of modern day technology, good practice of the European countries and environmental protection as stipulated in the EU directives.

TAP – IAP, Ionian-Adriatic Pipeline.  Montenegro’s Energy Development Strategy by 2030 identifies the 530km Ionian Adriatic Pipeline – IAP, intended to connect Fiera, Albania with Split, Croatia, crossing Montenegro for 94 km. This has been identified as the leading option for a gas system in Montenegro as well as an opportunity to market own gas due to the construction of gas infrastructure and getting closer to the important gas market.

The IAP is a continuation of the TAP and TANAP, enabling supply of gas from Azerbaijan to the EU and diversification from the gas supply from Russia. In addition, the project has particular importance since it ensures stable supply of natural gas to the EU.

The European Commission and the EBRD funded the Feasibility Study for the IAP-a. The Study includes the Strategic Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and a proposed Business Model for project implementation.

The Ministry of Economy received a €550,000 grant from the Western Balkans Investment Framework to develop the Gas Master Plan for Montenegro and obtain a clear insight into this industry, previously non-existent in the country. The Master Plan will be accompanied by the Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment (an additional €150,000 grant secured for this purpose), which is currently underway. The WBIF approved the €2.5 million grant for the IAP Preliminary Design for Montenegro and Albania.  

Wind farms. On 05 July 2010, the Government of Montenegro signed the contract on the lease of land and construction of wind farm of 46 MW installed capacity at the Možura site with the Fersa & Čelebić.

The contract was amended by Annex 1, whereby the investor set up a separate dependent entity, i.e. Možura Wind Park Ltd Company and transferred onto it all the rights and obligations under the contract.

Following the provision of all the required documents, the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism issued the building permit for the Mozura wind farm on 15 December 2014.  The Contract on the transfer of the rights and obligations under the Lease Contract to the Enemalta Plc was signed on 27 October 2015, making this company the lessee under the contract.

In line with the the Contract for the land lease and construction of wind farm on Mozura site, the deadline for completion is the end of 2017.

The Government of Montenegro signed the Contract for the lease of land and construction of a wind farm on Krnovo with the MHI-IVICOM Consulting GmbH consortium on 05 August 2010. The contract provided a 20-year lease on the state-owned land, with possible extension of up to 5 years for the purpose of construction of a wind farm of 72 MW installed capacity. Annex 1 to the Contract, signed on 26 October 2012, effectuated the change in the Consortium leader, replacing MHI with Akuo Energy SAS.

The construction of Krnovo wind farm commenced on 07 May 2015.

Small hydro-power plants. Following the tenders completed to date, 21 concession agreements have been signed for the construction of 37 small hydro-power plants in Montenegro. The concession holders completed the activities under the contracts and built 8 plants which started generating power.

Porto Montenegro (http://www.portomontenegro.com/). The project includes the construction of the yacht and mega yacht marina with 850 berths, with the surrounding village and a 5* hotel, luxury villas, a heliodrome, museum etc. The estimated investment to date amounts to cca. €450 million.

Luštica Bay (http://www.lusticabay.com/). The project includes construction of a mixed-use resort with 8 hotels, golf courses, residences and 2 marinas. 10 apartment buildings with 72 apartments have been completed.  The works on the marina, of estimated worth cca. €44 million are underway. The construction of the first hotel on the peninsula of Luštica is expected to commence soon.

Portonovi (http://www.portonovi.com/).  The project includes construction of a luxury hotel to be operated by One&Only, a village with 500 residences and villas, a 250 berth marina etc. The investment is estimated at cca. €.600 million. Construction works are underway in the mixed-use section-Phase I.

In addition to the projects described above, preparatory activities are underway for several multi-million projects and tenders for several sites ready to be developed, such as: Ecolodge Vranjina, Kolašin 1600, Donja Arza, Mediteran Žabljak(http://www.savjetzaprivatizaciju.me/valorizacija-turistickih-lokaliteta/)