Croatia needs to work on its perception as an investment destination
Investment Opportunities in Croatia, organized by the Foreign Investors Council in Croatia, Večernji List, Poslovni Dnevnik and 24sata, under the auspices of the Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, was held on March 18th, 2019. The Golden Sponsor of the Conference was Hrvatska Elektroprivreda d.d. (HEP d.d.)
Among those in attendance were Croatian President Kolinda Grabar -Kitarović, the Minister of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts Darko Horvat, and the Governor of the Croatian National Bank Boris Vujčić who delivered an introductory address. The conference was opened by Vladimir Nišević , Editor-in-Chief of Poslovni Dnevnik, who emphasized the importance of this project as a means to open discussions on matters of great importance to Croatia.
After delivering a presentation on the current state of the Croatian economy Governor Vujčić explained that Croatia needs to attract three major foreign investors and focus on changing its perception as an investment destinaiton. Minister Horvat presented the recent efforts of the Croatian Government in attracting more FDI and success stories from different Croatia counties whihc he had recently visited.
President Grabar Kitarović pointed out the lack of so-called Greenfield investments in Croatia and proposed five specific guidelines to the Croatian Government. “The results of direct foreign investments are not in line with desired projections. Over the past 26 years, 33.5 billion euros have been invested in Croatia; however, the problem is that the majority were Brownfield investments and directed towards non-tradable sectors. Croatia lacks Greenfield investments — investments in the production of goods and services that will create quality jobs and be more export-oriented,” said the President. She stated that development can be geared in a positive direction if we are able to learn from our mistakes.
“It is vital that we consolidate the competencies of all parties involved in bringing in FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) to a national level, create an investment attraction strategy in line with other economic strategies, focus on new models and soft investment incentives for added value, and create an ongoing attractive investment climate,” said the President. Among her five recommendations to the Croatian Government are the continued efforts on improving the overall image of Croatia and its promotion as an investment destination.
Following the introductory address, an official panel discussion was held featuring President of the Foreign Investors Council in Croatia; Mladen Fogec, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of MOL; Zoltan Aldott, Director of the Croatian Banking Association; Zdenko Adrović, Mayor of Bjelovar; Dario Hrebak, President of the Management Board of Tele2; Viktor Pavlinić, Regional Director of Doğuş Holding; Burak Baykan.
In addition to the representatives of the Croatian Government and government institutions and leading investors, the conference attracted a number of representatives of the diplomatic corps, media and business community from Croatia and abroad.