Trades and crafts are perhaps unappealing to some, but Bosnia and Herzegovina still has a large number of those working in this field. However, it is not easy for them. It is especially so for the survival of traditional crafts, but according to Mensur Bektić, president of the FBiH Chamber of Trades and Crafts, it is also true for some new trades such as mechanics or service technicians for mobile phones and LCD TVs.
“We have recently seen many old crafts disappearing, among them shoemakers, tailors, knife sharpeners, and more traditional crafts are slowly waning. The problem is that the government does not see that this is a very sensitive category that requires legislation to protect it, and not only incentives, but also a better way of financing to preserve it from extinction. Now we wait to see what will bring a new law on contributions, but we were promised that it would relieve the craftsmen, said Bektić.
Although a large number of new trades are created each year, a large number of them close down, but the general aim of the Chamber of Trades and Crafts is to at least maintain the current level.
“There are few new customers and tourists from Western European countries, but those who come to us from the East, in some way compensate for this loss. In this context, the Ministry of Tourism should offer arrangements that are interesting and that would restore the tourists from Europe, says Bektić.
The cantonal ministries of economy have been setting aside enough money to create incentives for employment and self-employment. The results are not yet visible, but the craftsmen are hoping that it the situation will improve.
To preserve the old crafts, it would be beneficial for artisans to have the ability to hire more than two workers, and those who outgrow it should create a limited liability corporation (d.o.o), as it gives the chance to train aspiring craftsmen, and then they can go on to open their own businesses, Bektić added.
In FBiH, he said, the number of registered craftsmen is around 50,000, oscillating by two thousand more or less. In the past year, the number was about 49,000, and most of them are in the Tuzla Canton, about 11,000, and in the Sarajevo Canton, 10,700. We do not have the exact data for Republika Srpska, but Jovan Bratić, director of the RS Chamber of Skilled Crafts and Entrepreneurship, said the situation is the same in the RS entity.
“One of the solutions for saving small businesses is certainly the suspension of para-fiscal charges, as I am sure that this would lead to the opening of 5,000 new stores. Crafts in BiH are already compromised, and I think we need a small craft services organization so that small family businesses can survive the difficult time that awaits them when we enter the EU, said Bratić.
Translated by: Tea IVANOVIĆ
(Original version: Očuvanje starih zanata treba biti prioritet )