Banja Luka: In the Republic of Srpska, there are 2,215 companies owned by foreigners

Infrastructure, a highly educated workforce, but also the fast work of local administrations are just some of the reasons why more and more foreign investors are opening their companies in the Republic of Srpska, and the fact that at the end of 2023, 2,215 foreign companies were operating in Srpska also implicates that local communities are becoming more and more interesting for investment.

According to the data from the Agency for Mediation, Information and Financial Services (APIF), last year there were 257 more foreign companies in Srpska than in 2022, when there were 1,958 of them.

The largest number of foreign companies, 1,363 of them, were registered in Banja Luka, 301 in Bijeljina, 121 such companies were registered in Gradiška last year and 120 in Laktaši. Among the five local communities with the most foreign investments was Trebinje, where 81 companies with foreign ownership operated last year. East Sarajevo, Prijedor, Zvornik, Doboj and Derventa also found their place on the list. Some of the activities among foreign companies in Srpska are consulting related to business and other management, non-specialized wholesale trade, computer programming, as well as electricity production, advertising and propaganda agencies.

The presence of foreign companies is important for local communities, including Gradiška, according to Zoran Adžić, the mayor of the town on the Sava. As he points out, the arrival of new investments also means the opening of new jobs, but also an increase in the standards of employees. According to him, there are several reasons why foreign investors come to Gradiška, one of which is the geostrategic position.

– We are at the gates of the Republic of  Srpska, right on the border with the European Union. We have adopted a number of standards. We want to serve businessmen and citizens who want to implement their projects. In Gradiška, you can get location conditions within seven days, a building permit within five days, and a use permit within 15 days – says Adžić.

As he points out, the quick work of the administration is also important to investors, and trust has been created, which is recognized among investors, who come from Italy, Slovenia, as well as Germany.

We want to help an investor implement his development project as soon as possible because that is our interest – Adžić says for Nezavisne novine, adding that without infrastructure, no local community can be interesting, regardless of its position.

– Without infrastructure, you are not interesting. You have to create a favourable environment, and to do all that, you have to have a development strategy, a capital investment plan and a number of other things – he concludes.

Ljubiša Ćosić, the mayor of East Sarajevo, points out to Nezavisne novine that they are trying to provide benefits for foreign investors.

We cooperate with domestic investors every day, and whenever a foreign investor appears, we are all at his service equally and there is no selective approach, but everything is completely open – he says and adds that the position of East Sarajevo is a special advantage for them.

According to him, this local community is actually the strategic centre of Srpska.

– Geographically, it is located near the airport, near Sarajevo as an administrative centre, near the connection to Highway 5c. We have a qualified workforce, we have a high-quality, highly educated workforce, and these are all reasons that lead a foreign investor to decide to do business in our area – explains Ćosić.

Among the significant investments in the last period, investments in capacities in the surrounding mountains stand out, and among the most significant investors, Serbia stands out, as well as the countries of the European Union.

Bojan Kresojević, city manager in the City Administration of Banjaluka, pointed out to Nezavisne novine that Banjaluka is an entrepreneurial and economic city.

– As a city, we are open to all activities and, in general, to the economic environment, which has mutually intertwined relations, and all of them have a positive effect on the opening of any business activity. As the city of Banjaluka, we implement stimulating measures for the development of the economy. The results achieved in this regard support the fact that Banjaluka is the most open city, both for domestic and foreign investors – said Kresojević, adding that in 2023, Banjaluka had more than a thousand new registered entrepreneurs for the first time.