German investment to provide Roma with jobs and housing
BELGRADE — The Roma National Minority Council and a consortium of German companies represented by Jugoagent KTS and Roma Investment Group signed an MoU on Thursday.
The memorandum of understanding should provide employment opportunities and solve the housing problems of part of the Roma population in the country.
Under the document, the German group, a successful union of Roma businessmen, should invest in Serbia in cooperation with local businessmen and employ Roma people, and if possible, provide those who get jobs with accommodations.
The first project to be implemented, said President of the Roma National Minority Council Vitomir Mihajlović, is the construction of a recycling center covering about 15 hectares of land in the municipality of Ruma, northern Serbia.
The center for recycling of car tires and production of biogas will include housing units for employees, Mihajlović said.
Mihajlović said that the Roma population faced serious problems when it came to employment and housing, pointing to the fact that there were about 600 informal settlements in Serbia, 20 percent of which had no water and 40 percent no sewerage systems.
He said that many of the settlements also had no electricity, pointing out that there were about 700,000 and 800,000 Roma in Serbia.
The implementation of projects for employment and housing of Roma can free the population from the vicious circle of misery and poverty, said Roma Investment Group Director Zoran Simić.
Milorad Bašić, director of Jugoagent KTS d.o.o, which represents the German consortium in Serbia, shares Simić’s opinion and says he expects other projects of similar type to be drafted soon, stressing that German companies are showing considerable interest in investing in Serbia.
The German consortium plans to invest about EUR 40 million in the project.