Canadian-Serbian businesswoman Rebecca MacDonald told Magazin Biznis monthly that she never invested in Serbia because she believes that politics and the economy have to be separate.
McDonald, considered to be the most successful Serbian businesswoman in Canada said that she believes that a health business can’t be developed in any country in which the economy and politics are not separated. According to her, politics should be separated from the economy, strong legal institutions and a judiciary system should be built. She added that the laws and rules should be the same for everyone without “someone calling someone to talk to someone else and fix something”.
“I wouldn’t know what to do where there are no rules. I have been told by people who came to Serbia to set up a company that things go ahead to a certain level and then suddenly someone comes and says – this is no longer yours,” the owner of the Canada-based Just Energy Group said. The company has some 3,000 employees, an annual turnover of about four billion Canadian Dollars and is listed on the stock exchange.
“Wherever you have to be politically connected to be in business, the economy is not healthy,” McDonald said.
Asked what should be done in Serbia to stop people from leaving the country, she said that people have to see that they can create things. “Young people don’t see that here in Serbia and that is why it’s important to separate politics from the economy. We have phenomenal programmers in Belgrade who earn 5,000 Dollars a month and that is a lot for Serbia but those same programmers earn five times more in America or Canada,” McDonald said.
She said that the average salaries in the Dominican Republic, which is considered a third world country, are higher than the average in Serbia even though education levels are higher in Serbia.
McDonald said she does not see any fundamental changes during her rare visits to Serbia. “I saw enthusiasm and great expectations five or six years ago but when I came here two years ago I saw apathy and people tired of everything,” she said.