Tkalcic-Dulic, Prebanic, Rizvic & Jusufbasic-Goloman Partner, Arela Jusufbasic-Goloman, says that no significant laws or regulations have been passed in Bosnia & Herzegovina recently that could influence the work of lawyers or the business sector, although they are much needed.
“We are still having problems with the political situation," explains Jusufbasic-Goloman, "which hinders the adoption of new regulations that could allow easier business procedures for companies and foreign investors. We don’t have an elementary majority in the Federation, the work of the parliament is blocked – only the most necessary rules are passed and adopted – and the political parties are only concerned with pre-election activities, since next year we have elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina."
Jusufbasic-Goloman sas that it is unfortunate that the political class considers these pre-election activities so important right now, and not the fate of the business sector, or the passing of new laws that could encourage activity in it. “They are just concerned with how to promote their political parties and the groups that they represent, instead of focusing on the countries interests," she says. "This would be even more important if we consider that there is a lot of interest from foreign investors in Bosnia’s energy sector, particularly in the construction of hydropower plants and thermal power stations."
According to Jusufbasic-Goloman, the main practical problem is that Bosnia & Herzegovina is divided into two entities and one district, with one of the entities divided into 10 cantons, and each of these administration areas has its own governments, ministers, and other officials. “It is very difficult for a foreigner to understand this huge administrative system, and know all the different rules and regulations in such a divided country. There are some administration areas that do not even recognize one another, or are not harmonized with each other,” she says, adding that this huge administrative system also produces slow administrative procedures with high costs when it comes to the issuance of permits, construction forms, investment papers, and so on.
According to Jusufbasic-Goloman, clients often ask when the country will solve certain problems, and when it will adopt certain rules to help their activities in Bosnia. “We can see that they are concerned about doing business in Bosnia because of the above-mentioned political situation," she sighs. "We have also noticed that this year the number of foreign investments was a bit lower than the last year. We definitely need further regulations and more relevant rules to make it easier for foreign investors to decide how and when to invest in a particular area.”