L'anno nuovo in Serbia ha fatto il suo ingresso con la liquididazione di quattro dei maggiori istituti di credito del paese. In gioco ci sono 8.500 posti di lavoro.
La decisione è stata già presa, ma in questi giorni le discussioni e le proteste sono piuttosto accese. Il sindacato si è appellato a Kostunica che oggi stesso discuterà con i ministri e il governatore della Banca nazionale Mladjan Dinkic. Nel frattempo circa 700 lavoratori in segno di protesta si sono chiusi dentro gli uffici della Investbanka, una delle quattro banche in liquidazione.
Four more banks in Serbia have been liquidated. The Council of the Liquidation Agency has just proposed that the National Bank of Yugoslavia commence procedure for closing up Belgrade Bank, Jugobank, Investbank and Beobank. Since the four banks in question are much larger than the five previously closed up, Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica held a meeting yesterday with representatives of financial organizations trade unions.
Trade unions said to the President formerly reached agreements with them were not respected by the Central Bank and added closing domestic banks of this size would be catastrophic for the future of Serbian banking. Trade union president Milan Alempijevic said they demanded "liquidation procedure to be halted, independent expert teams to be formed which would assess real possibilities for the banks' recovery and a long-term plan by the Government on the future of Serbian banking." Alempijevic added president Kostunica was also surprised with the development, since the latest moves seemed to have been carried out "with no prior concept in mind".
Meanwhile, hundreds of workers of Investbank locked up on the premises yesterday refusing to let in the new, liquidation manager whose purpose is to take after any property and money until the bank is finally closed up. President Kostunica urgently called Central Bank Governor Dinkic and Serbian Finance Minister Djelic to a meeting to discuss the problem. Dinkic said to the press he agreed to meet Kostunica, but the decision to close up the banks was "irrevocable" since the procedure had already started. "I hope we will be able to convince Kostunica this was the only option. We simply do not have 8.3 billion DEM to bring those banks back to life. No citizen will be robbed, though, since all the savings left in those banks will be paid off from the Serbian and Federal budget."
Federal finance minister, Jovan Rankovic, says however the decision was "rash" and "president Kostunica has the right to veto it". Dinkic and Djelic respond that this position is "unconstructive. The Liquidation Council has 7 members, 6 of which, including the Federal Prime Minister Dragisa Pesic, voted for the liquidation". "Rankovic's assistant, Ms. Lepa Kelecevic did abstain from voting, but the outcome was 6:1 nevertheless", Dinkic added.
Federal vice-premier and the most respected Yugoslav economist worldwide, Miroljub Labus, said "debts of these banks have started piling up. In December, every single employee made a 500 DEM addition to the total debt. The total debt of those banks in ZOP (Central Auditing Office) is billions. Half a billion dinars is court-ordered to be paid immediately. No one knows how. The total debt is over 3 billion DEM cash only. They have been using their deponents' money to cover expenses for too long. We realize liquidation is risky, but this is the only option left, or else, if we keep them artificially alive, they can drown the entire economy. It is risky, but not dramatic, since we will solve this problem eventually."
Serbian finance minister Djelic added there were 8,500 employed in these banks, and they will all be offered a fair social program: a 24-month-value single payoff, prospective subscription for a new job with qualifications (meanwhile, they will be jobless) and the third option - prequalification for new jobs in financial sector, with the guaranteed 20% of the average monthly salary in the country until new employment is acquired. This is not much, but the best we can do right now."