PERFORM supported the Ministry of Youth and Sport in organising a youth conference: For the Youth, With the Youth. The focus of the conference was to review the achievements in youth policy on local, national and international level and discuss the possibilities of improving these results in order to raise the quality of life for young people in Serbia.
The conference was opened by Minister Vanja Udovicic, who said that the youth unemployment rate is still high at 23%:
“We have to continue working on improving the conditions for better employment and self-employment of young people in Serbia, but also for their active engagement in the society.”
The panel discussion “Importance of Research on Youth Needed for Policymaking”, moderated by Dr Aleksandar Weisner focused on the process of establishing a national network of researchers who deal with youth policy issues. Prof. Dr Smiljka Tomanovic from the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Belgrade spoke about the importance of continuous “panel” research on youth that should be implemented on the same cohort longitudinally every three years. That kind of research is already being implemented in the European countries and it enables following the trends of youth needs, their position and interests, which leads to more sophisticated conclusions and youth policies based on these insights.
Prof. Dr Sanja Filipovic from the Economics Institute presented the results of research commissioned last year by the Ministry of Youth Sport and conducted as part of pilot projects of the Public Policy Secretariat and PERFORM. The research analysed conditions in which young entrepreneurs do business in Serbia and gave recommendations for improving the business environment. As a result, the Ministry of Finance amended four tax laws, which brought concrete changes in business environment for young entrepreneurs.
As of October 2018, young entrepreneurs starting a business would be able to save a minimum of 250,000 dinars on taxes and contributions to earnings. By adopting amendments to the Law on Personal Income Tax and the Law on Contributions for Compulsory Social Insurance, those who start their own business will be exempted from paying taxes on salaries and contributions for up to 10 employees in the first two years of operation. According to NALED estimates, only in the first year this measure could benefit up to 8,000 new entrepreneurs.
PERFORM will continue to support the Ministry of Youth and Sport in the establishment of a network of policy oriented researchers and provide capacity building training for this group of researchers in January 2018.