By: Milen Vesovic
Novi Sad, Nov.24, 2009 (Serbia Today) – The future status of State property in Vojvodina looms as one of the more sticky issues associated with the Vojvodina Autonmous Province (VAP) bill making its way through parliament.
The question of any future division of State property between an Automous Vojvodina and the Serbian Government would create a cascade effect into issues that are already hard to untangle. The annual budget of the Serbian Government has required billions of dollars in international loans to stabilize and complicated intra party negotiations. Just how the process of budget reform could continue if the VAP bill were passed is beyond any reckoning.
Vojvodina municipalities have long been tasked to generate property lists, so that funds can accrue where infrastructure is shared between the district and the State on roads, Ostroznica’s loop, railways, and bridges.
State Secretary of Ministry and Finance, Slobodan Ilic, remarked that the question of future ownership, will depend on the solutions found in the public property law. Ilic said that the problem with making infrastructure lists and valuating them is that almost anything can be included in the list, but the value is not always easy to determine. For example forests, can be a source of income, but much of the value of such a resource is hard to determine, he added.
Assets in public enterprises will be easier to value and to divide. However, authorities in Vojvodina have stipulated that ‘the waters of Vojvodina, Vojvodina forest’ and ‘Department of City Planning’ are all quantifiable assets that are to be a source of income to the Province, if Serbia is to transfer of jurisdiction of these resources to the Government of Serbia.
So it is, that before dividing State property between a Vojvodina Autonomous Province and the Serbian Government, both parties will have to agree on what property already belongs to whom, before meaningful negotiations can begin.