Bosnian Serb PM Praised for GE Deal

Sarajevo – Milorad Dodik, the Premier of Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity has received rare praise from Sarajevo media, after signing a cooperation deal with US giant, General Electric.

Sarajevo daily Dnevni Avaz, which is usually highly critical of Dodik and his frequent radical statements, on Monday saluted the Bosnian Serb leader for securing a milestone agreement at a time of worsening global recession and shortfalls in foreign investment.
At the same time, the influential newspaper criticised leaders in the other Bosnian entity, the Federation, for halting key reforms and business deals over political infighting.
Last week, Dodik and Ferdinando Beccalli-Falco, the president of the General Electric International, signed a cooperation agreement which paves the way for future investments in several key sectors in the Serb-dominated entity of Republika Srpska.
Without specifying any exact figures or concrete projects, the agreement reflects General Electric’s interest in investing or partaking in projects related to railroad and air transportation and the development of power, health and other sectors.
Bosnian Serb officials in the past have indicated the value of these projects could exceed €400 million but Dodik refused to speculate on the exact amounts, saying that will depend on concrete projects that will be signed in future.
Yet he added that the first priority could be development of a fast railroad connection between Prijedor, Banja Luka and Doboj. Just two days before the signing of the cooperation agreement with General Electric, the Republika Srpska Railways company published a tender for the modernisation of this route.
“This is the beginning of our cooperation and great opportunity which we will know how to use,” Dodik told media.
“At the moment when the world is shaking from the global economic crisis, the signing of the cooperation agreement with General Electric is a very important development for the entire Bosnia and Herzegovina because it will send a clear and strong message to other foreign investors that it is safe and lucrative to invest in our country,” said Haris Basic, the director of Bosnia’s Agency for the Promotion of Foreign Investments, FIPA.

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