The introduction of a unified payment transaction between Montenegro and Serbia will be the topic of today’s meeting of the regulators and heads of the Central Banks of the two countries. We spoke with economic analyst Predrag Drecun about what the economies of Montenegro and Serbia, as well as their citizens, would get in the event of the establishment of a unified payment system, which has been talked about for a long time, but whose implementation is constantly being postponed.
“Until 2006, Montenegro and Serbia were in a single payment system that rested on the foundations of the Social Accounting Service. He demonstrated a high level of efficiency and reliability. “Since the day when Montenegro became independent, there has been no political will in Montenegro to establish a unified payment system,” says Drecun for the A plus portal. He believes that it brought only mutual damage.
“It caused double economic damage – to the economy because the costs of doing business were higher and because the turnover of capital was slowed down. Those two very important economic factors have stacked up during these almost two decades into one big business barrier. It is time to begin the realization of this idea after the thawing of relations between Serbia and Montenegro after the “fall” of the DPS.
That’s why there is a motive, not only between two economies but also between the citizens of two countries, to establish a single payment transaction”, says Drecun and recalls the SEPA system which is applied among EU countries but also some that are not members of the Union – “EU countries but also more some European countries that are not part of the Union, as well as some that are but do not use the euro, have signed and joined the so-called to the SEPA system for small transactions, which takes place according to the rules of the national payment system. This system implies that there are no costs that make business difficult, which as a rule go to correspondent banks”.
Drecun explains that in the current situation between Montenegro and Serbia, large profits are made by banks that act as intermediaries.
“The most common are German and Italian banks, but there are also other banks, they are all foreign and they are interested in mediating the business between Serbia and Montenegro. “SEPA is a system that can be a good model to establish not only for payment traffic between Serbia and Montenegro, but also, to present it as a new idea – to create this system at the level of the Open Balkans,” says Drecun.
He points out that he hopes that Montenegro will soon join this regional association.
“It could be another moment of connecting this region so that the region so connected could join the European Union in due course. I am sure that the EU will accept the entire region and not part by part, because partial acceptance could lead to an imbalance in the region itself. That is the idea of the Open Balkans, and from that point of view, the establishment of a unified payment system must be the first step,” adds Drecun.
Commenting on today’s meeting of the heads of the Central Banks of Montenegro and Serbia, where this topic will be discussed, the well-known economic analyst points out that there should be no obstruction of this work.
“I believe that those responsible at the meeting of the regulators of Serbia and Montenegro should not deal with any obstruction of this work and I expect that those who perform duties in the CBCG will accept a high level of responsibility, that is, they will accept any conclusion. “At this moment, it is difficult to say what the concrete conclusion and first step can be, but it would be good to come out of that meeting with a common view that certain progress has been made,” emphasizes Drecun.
He adds that, as far as the technique itself is concerned, this undertaking can be carried out quickly, although there are some objections to it, explaining that it takes a certain amount of time.
“I repeat and remind you that in the SFRY that system was used at a very high and efficient level and it is not difficult to establish it again, considering that the staff exists. New technologies are also available to us, and they significantly speed up both the time and the payment processes themselves compared to those that were 25 or 30 years ago.
That is why I believe that with the existence of political will, which is the main factor that hindered the creation of a unified payment system, we can finally take a positive step in the interest of the economy and the citizens of Montenegro,” emphasizes Drecun. He explains that there are 36 European countries in the SEPA system and that the members of that system are not only the countries of the Western Balkans.
“That speaks for itself and under SEPE conditions there are only national tariffs, there are no tariffs for multi-payments. Very low rates of 0.05 to 0.2 are paid in case of more iterative and very complex payments. In any case, these very low rates are most often used, and in a very transparent and plastic way, it helps and accelerates capital turnover and strengthens economic activity,” concludes Drecun.