USAID Launches Guide to Reform Serbia's Construction Permitting Process

USAID Launches Guide to Reform Serbia's Construction Permitting Process
U.S. Ambassador Michael D. Kirby, Serbian Minister of Construction and Urbanism Velimir Ilić, and Professor Miloš Živković, one of the authors of the guide.
USAID Serbia

For Immediate Release

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Belgrade, June 2013 – The USAID Business Enabling Project (BEP) today released a guide to streamline Serbia's construction permitting process by eliminating unnecessary government agency clearances, establishing one-stop shops, adopting a computerized platform, and introducing risk-based construction permitting. 

Minister of Construction and Urbanism Velimir Ilić and U.S. Ambassador Michael D. Kirby both voiced their support for construction permit reforms. 

Ambassador Kirby noted that developers currently face myriad administrative hurdles when seeking construction permits, and that these lengthy procedures unduly increase costs and uncertainty.  He encouraged the Ministry of Construction and Urbanism to implement the recommendations as it drafts reform legislation.

The guide, The Concept of Reform of Construction Permits, states that reforms are crucial to increase economic growth and create jobs, and it provides clear, concise guidance to speed construction permitting and increase transparency.  Government officials and the business community have reviewed the manual and already are using it to guide legal and institutional reforms. 

Among its recommendations are the elimination of multiple reviews by numerous government agencies, the institution of an IT platform to speed processing of applications at one-stop shops, and linking the level of regulatory involvement to the level of risk, such as risk to public safety.

Serbia's construction permitting efficiency is ranked 179 out of 185 countries in the World Bank's Doing Business 2013 report.  USAID BEP experts believe that Serbia's Gross Domestic Product could increase by as much as 2 percent if its construction industry matched that of other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries.  Some 57 percent of respondents to USAID BEP's most recent Annual Business Survey said more-efficient construction permitting would enable them to expand their businesses.