BiH delegation at Western Balkans Investment Summit, EBRD approves EUR 700 investment program for BiH

Photo: Twitter/EBRD

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Chairman of the Council of Ministers of BiH Denis Zvizdic attended the prime ministers’ session of the Western Balkans Investment Summit, which was organized by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The session was held after the official opening of the Conference and addresses of EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and UK Minister for International Development, Lord Michael Bates.

Zvizdic stated that they mostly discussed the investments in infrastructural projects and the digital connectivity projects. “What is important for BiH and the whole region is the fact that everyone understood that lack of transport infrastructure is one of the biggest reasons for slow economic development,” said Zvizdic.

Representatives of the EBRD and the Ministers of Transport and Communications of the FBiH and the RS signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday, which outlines an investment program of over EUR 700 million for the period 2018-2020.

Expanding the country’s road infrastructure and building modern motorways is a key requirement for the integration of BiH and its economy with the region and strengthening links with western Europe. Improving connectivity is of critical importance for the Western Balkans economic convergence. The planned investment programme includes: the sections of Corridor Vc from Poprikuse to Nemila, the tunnel Ivan on Corridor Vc, the section of Corridor Vc from the Mostar South interchange to Tunnel Kvanj, the section of Corridor Vc from Karuse to the inter-entity boundary line in Tunnel Putnikovo Brdo, and the section of Corridor Vc between Tunnel Ivan, Mostar South interchange, the section of Corridor Vc from Rudanka to the inter-entity boundary line in Tunnel Putnikovo Brdo, and the section of Corridor Vc from Vukosavlje to Podnovlje.

Photo: BiH Council of Ministers

“This will complete a significant section that is going to connect the territory of whole BiH, which will in turn allow new investments, better flow of goods and people, and the economic development of the country,” said Zvizdic.

EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti said: “We are very pleased to sign this Memorandum of Understanding today. After the recent breakthrough at the political level we are now ready to deliver the projects which have been under preparation for some time and which are overdue for the future prosperity of the country. With these roads Bosnia and Herzegovina will move closer to where it belongs – the center of Europe.”

Minister of Transport and Communications of the Federation of BiH Denis Lasic said that signing of the memorandum reconfirms the joint goal, which is to create the preconditions for the implementation of capital infrastructure projects in BiH and to continuously and persistently work on the economic development of the country.

Minister of Transport and Communications of Republika Srpska Nedjo Trninic noted that the RS is committed to the development of infrastructure projects, and the support of the EBRD is very important for the implementation of these projects. "This memorandum confirms the excellent cooperation that has been developed over the years between our government and the EBRD," he concluded.

Director General DG NEAR - Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission Christian Danielsson underlined that the European Commission welcomes this MoU between the EBRD and BiH, and stands ready to provide further EU grant funding for this important connection. "In this perspective, the European Commission has already committed around EUR 100 million since 2015," he stressed.

General Manager of ‘FBiH Motorways’ Adnan Terzic welcomed the EBRD's decision to approve some EUR 700 million for BiH, which will be invested in construction of Corridor VC. In a statement for Dnevni avaz, Terzic said that this is a very favorable loan, of which EUR 540 million will be allocated for the FBiH and EUR 250 for the RS. “This is a financial response by the international community to adoption of the road taxes. We have been fighting for such agreement for months. Now, when the Memorandum of Understanding has been signed, the EBRD starts implementation. And we are addressing other international institutions for crediting of other sections of the Corridor. We already sent letters to the European Investment Bank (EIB), but also to the Kuwaiti Development Fund and many others”, stressed Terzic. He is convinced that other financial institutions will approve as much as the EBRD just did. Also, Terzic announced works on the Corridor in the full swing.