VP Law Firm • May 30, 2020
MONTENEGRO: MEASURES FOR THE ECONOMY
The unprecedented appearance of the COVID19 virus has surprised many European countries. The unpreparedness and late response to the first signs of the virus have led to catastrophic consequences for the population in the form of accelerated spread of the infection, tens of thousands infected and thousands dead.
Luckily, Montenegro has introduced the necessary measures to prevent coronavirus infection pretty early. As early as March 13th, prior to the occurrence of the first confirmed case, the Ministry of Health, on the proposal of the Institute of Public Health of Montenegro, issued an “Order on the implementation of measures for the prevention of infection caused by the new coronavirus”. The Order prohibits Montenegrin citizens from traveling to epidemic countries – Italy, Spain, Iran and China.
It also prohibits the organization of all student and scientific events, holding sporting events with the presence of an audience, as well as all official trips to other countries. Montenegrin authorities reacted preventively and closed all schools for a minimum of 15 days.
With an Order from March 17th the operation of public transport of passengers in long-distance, suburban and urban, bus and van transportation, is suspended as well as suspension of public transport of passengers in inland rail traffic.
The obligation to place persons in quarantine who have been or are suspected to have been in contact with persons infected with the virus is also prescribed. Persons who came from countries with moderate and low levels of transmission were prescribed an obligatory two week self-isolation period and for those who violate this order appropriate criminal charges would be filed, in accordance with the law.
As it is inevitable that the emergence of this virus will have a negative impact on the economy, the Governing Council of the Central Bank of Montenegro adopted on March 17th a “Decision on provisional measures to mitigate the negative impact of the new coronavirus on the financial system” and, for the duration of this decision: credit users (legal entities, individuals, entrepreneurs and other loan beneficiaries) will have the right to a moratorium on loan repayment for up to 90 days; postponing payment of taxes and contributions on earnings as well as obligations under the Law on Rescheduling will be enabled ; creation of a new IRF credit line, designed to improve the liquidity of entrepreneurs, micro, small, medium and large enterprises up to a maximum amount of EUR 3 million per user will also be possible; as well as providing one-time financial assistance to the pensioners with the lowest pensions and beneficiaries of material security and delaying the payment of lease of state-owned real estate for a period of 90 days.