North region lacks foreign investments, the infrastructure is undeveloped, majority of firms are in bankruptcy procedure, and the number of unemployed persons is growing. The salaries are far below the republic average salary, and the record which depicts the situation is the one that the sum of budgets of the municipalities on North of Montenegro is less then the budget of Budva.
Montenegro has officially got its first “town of millionaires”, there are more and more employed people. Only the ones who despite the world in a few years will be unemployed, the salaries are growing, the investments are broking records, and the entrepreneur spirit is flourishing.
This kind of picture of the state, which the citizens observe on a daily basis or read about it is just one side of the story.
At the same time when every 50 citizen of the capital of tourism, Budva, has become a millionaire thanks to the crazy growth of the prices of houses and land which are being bought by foreigners with suitcases of money and when a million of euros never seemed smaller than now, the Government in the analysis of economic policy in the first three months of the year established that there is an obvious drop back of the North which is characterized by entirely opposite happenings than those on the level of the state. The entrepreneur initiative and foreign investments lack, the infrastructure has not been developed, majority of firms is in bankruptcy, and the number of unemployed persons is growing. The salaries of the employees in the towns on the North (except in Pljevlja and Savnik) are about 50% lower than the ones, which are an average in the entire Republic, and the most exemplary town is Plav, where the salary is almost twice as lower. The record that depicts a segment of the situation is the one that the sum of budgets of the municipalities on the North of Montenegro is lesser than the budget of Budva.
The budget of the metropolis of tourism for this year is 44 millions, and the budget of Berane, Rozaje, Plav, Bijelo Polje, Andrijevica, Pljevlja, Kolasn, Mjkovac, Zabljak, Savnik, and Pluzine is 42,5 millions of euros. in all 11 municipalities on the North there are 194.000 citizens and in Budva there are 15.000 citizens.
And while many other citizens of the “town of millionaires” are in doubt whether to by a “hummer” or a Yacht, or maybe both with the money which they got from the sale of their heritage, in Berane employees who for years haven’t got their salaries are thinking about how will they feed their families.
– We are digging channels, unloading and overloading flour and cement, but those jobs lack too. The success is when we have a chance to earn the money in that way, of which I can only buy basic things for living – said for “Vijesti” one of the workers of the ruined Berane enterprise.
In Berane we have employees who haven’t had their salary for 80 months, which is the case of the employees in the enterprise Ltd Stadium says the president of the municipal union in Berane Milan Milovic.
– As the great number of employees in Berane municipality for years has not been receiving the salary I think that a way should be found in which they can be provided with help. Because of the implementation of bankruptcy in numerous firms hundreds of employees have been proclaimed as technological extra because of which social map of Berane is horrible. Beside the enterprise “Hotelier keeping” in which for 80 months the salaries have not been given, hard situation is also in “Guming” where employees haven’t got their salaries since 1st of January in 2003, in “Polimka” for 55 months, while the employees in Nova beranka, for the last three years got just a few salaries – said Milovic pleased with the announcement that that enterprise should starts the production in the next few days.
– Of bigger enterprises only SIK “Polimlje” with 184 workers, “Polieks” with 48, “Simonvojaz” with 84 employees at the moment are working – said Milovic.
That town with about 35.000 citizens officially 2.000 are unemployed and are on the Bureau of work.
The virus of bankruptcy has devastated Bijelo Polje too, the former industrial zone of Montenegro which employed thousands of workers.
– On the fingers of one hand you can count how many factories are in function, how many gates are opened compared to the past not so long ago, when n the economy of the town there were more than 10.000 employees, of which just in “Vunk” about 4.000. situation with every day is getting more and more difficult and it is about time that the authorities take some measures on solving of piled problems – says the president of the Municipal union trust Bogdan Krgovic.
He thinks that it is “final moment to stop this kind of situation when now already we have 5.000 unemployed people”.
At the moment the economy of the town is working with less than 20% of the capacities, and just 2.000 workers are engaged, which most vividly speaks about the “dark situation of Bijelo Polje economy” – ponted out Krgovic.
The president of the union trust of Rozaje, Semso Hot for years has been warning on the alarming situation in Rozaje municipality because of which that town officially is among the poorest towns in Montenegro.
– In the last year, of over than 28.000 citizens only 3.120 of them were employed, while on the Bureau of work there are about 2.350 active, and 5.120 passive candidates. Social problematic imposed itself as a priority in fight for bare survival – says Hot.
He reminds that the collapse of the self administering system, transition, privatization, bad credit support, broken business connections, ineffective expensive economy with the old technology, negligence and open robbery of social property provoked the closing of many enterprises because of which the workers were sent to Bureau of work or on the street.
– That happened with “Famoda”, “Kristal”, “Buteks” which employed about 400 workers. Even harder case is with “Biteks” and “Napredak” in which the status of the neterprise is still unfamiliar, with about 150 employees. In hard and uncertain condition is “Dekor” which has 160 workers, and now it has 30 of them who haven’t had their salaries since the October 2002. The situation in Gornji Ibar (in bankruptcy) is alarming. The only solution is privatization, which wasn’t successful even after the 6 open competitions – said Hot.
Wood process industry “Gornji Ibar” used to employ about 2.000 workers.
Bad situation is in almost all Rozaje enterprises. Majority of employees has sued their employers, but even after the several years of disputes they haven’t managed to charge their demands.
In Rozaje there were several bad privatizations, while for the successful ones are considered to be the privatization of former HTE “Turjak” and former “Dometsic work” that is present “Gradina company”. However, former employees of that enterprise who were left without a job even after 7 years from the sale did not get the dismissal wage.
The town on Ibar is characteristic by large families in which almost no one is working. According to the records of the Center for social work in December last year 1.232 families with 4.034 members got the compensation for material support of the families. That is for 29% more families and for 39% more members compared to 2005 year, but it is assumed that the relatives from abroad provide them with some aid. According to the last statistical data about 5.000 Rozaje people live and work abroad.
In Pljevlja the situation, even though bad, is much better than in other towns on the North, thinks municipal union trusty Jovan Joksimovic. Majority of employed people from Pljevlja regularly get their salaries. Still, the number of employees is about 6.000 which is 4.000 less than at the end of 1980’s, because of the closed enterprises or because they were technological extra.
Joksimovic said that Pljevlja were lucky because of the Coal mine and Thermoelectric power station in which 2.000 people are employed. From the success of their privatization, he pointes out will depend the future destiny of employees and the destiny of the entire town.
Average earnings in the North municipalities in euros
Records of Monstat, December 2006
Average of Montenegro 280, 63
Andrijevica 211, 39
Berane 199, 89
Bijelo Polje 185, 53
Zabljak 180, 58
Kolasin 211, 85
Mojkovac 186, 39
Plav 155, 23
Pluzine 252, 71
Pljevlja 315, 00
Rozaje 158, 44
Savnik 283, 54
DROP BACK AND MOVING OUT
Several decade drop back of the North part of Montenegro, but also of the official Montenegrn capital Cetinje, which has resulted with moving out of citizens, was not stopped with economic policy in previous years. Despite the fact that that area is very suitable for development of cattle breeding and agriculture. On the North there is about 60% of the total Montenegrin agricultural land (about 400.000 ha), 2/3 of cattle is located there, 80% of wood mass (almost 60 cube millions), water reserves, healing herbs, tourist potentials… Not even the lower interest rates on credits which the state funds approve to enterprises above Bioce helped nor the Government’s measures for encouraging of agriculture and development of villages. Expert and educated people rather choose to be unemployed in southern towns then to move or to go back in their hometown and to work on depressive north. Some signs that the north will become live again still exist. After the south, in last few months the investors, mostly local ones, are turning to north, so modern factories of furniture, water, and hotel have been announced. Maybe the salaries in those factories will be sufficient for the citizens of the north region, which is deep in the zone of absolute poverty, to come at least closer to the average salaries in Montenegro.