In a report released on April 1, the World Bank said it was forecasting growth in gross domestic product, GDP, of 2.8 percent this year, again behind the forecast average of 4.4 percent for the region. .
Sectors hardest hit have been retail, manufacturing, transport and accommodation, pushing up an unemployment rate that is already among the worst in Europe.
In Zenica-Doboj township, where Jusupovic’s donkey farm is located, industry bodies say cash-strapped authorities’ efforts to ease the economic impact of COVID-19 restrictions have failed .
âSince March of last year, the Association unfortunately had no interlocutor with whom to discuss the prevention of the negative effects of the pandemic on the economy,â said Senaida Turkic, chairman of the board of directors of the Zenica Employers Association, 60 kilometers northwest of the capital, Sarajevo.
“The authorities don’t know what to do, so a lot of wrong solutions have been applied which will have a negative impact on the economy in the future,” Turkic told BIRN.
When restrictions were imposed a year ago, local authorities in the canton of Zenica-Doboj spent just over 3.7 million Bosnian mark, or around 1.8 million euros, to help local businesses , from salary support to covering administrative costs and discounts on interest paid on bank loans.
In a statement to BIRN, the cantonal economy ministry said that an economic development program for 2021-2024 was still under development, so it was unable to comment on plans for this year.
On the health front, Bosnia is struggling hard, with just 130,000 vaccines purchased to date, most in the form of donations, for a population of around 3.5 million people. To date, more than 6,500 people have died from COVID-19 infections, and cases have increased in recent times.
Jusupovic’s farm looks like an idyllic retreat, offering fresh air, donkey milk cosmetics, and rides on some of his 105 donkeys. The company will be 10 years old next year; Jusupovic said the pandemic taught business owners an important lesson:
Beyond state aid, “it is also important that entrepreneurs do everything in their power to be as ready as possible to the external influences brought by companies and the market”, he said. -he declares.