Prishtina, April 24, 2020 – Challenges in doing business which have been presented by the COVID19 pandemic and the disruptions in international supply chains are creating opportunities for the development of various industries in Kosovo, especially those of the manufacturing sector. During these times of uncertainty when the level of consumption is higher, the role of manufacturers who now are the greatest contributors to the state economy is seen as increasingly important. The perspective on the impact, challenges and opportunities created by this situation were discussed in the virtual forum organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo with panelists Visar Ramajli, co-owner and managing partner of the factory of plastic products KIVO and Mërgim Prishtina, chief executive and founder of the pharmaceutical manufacturing company Trepharm, both also members of AmCham’s Board of Governors.
Visar Ramajli from KIVO, stated that all industries have been hit by the pandemic, both in terms of the difficulties caused in the global supply chains as well as the implications that arose from government decisions. Ramajli, however, said that despite these problems, there hasn’t been a complete cessation of production and circulation of goods. He also expressed his gratitude to employees who through their efforts have kept production going. Speaking about the overall impact on the economy, Ramajli stated that at the time, a proper assessment of the situation and the consequences of the pandemic cannot be conducted, however, work must be done to develop and strengthen the economy, adding that there will be new opportunities for manufacturing industries on the outskirts of Europe, as big enterprises are likely to relocate their production or supply from Asia. As per economic recovery after the pandemic, Ramajli said that Kosovo must become more attractive to foreign investors in order to achieve sustainable economic development. Whereas, for this development it is necessary to invest in sectors with export opportunities i.e., in the manufacturing sector of existing products and new products as well.
Mërgim Prishtina from the Trepharm company, stated that this situation has had a great impact on the manufacturing industries, especially pharmaceuticals, due to increased demand. Such impact has been reflected in the reduction of staff within Trepharm’s premises but also the difficulties in securing raw materials as a result of rising panic-related purchases around the world, purchases that have disrupted the supply chain in local and global production. He stated that the new situation after the pandemic will create a new opportunity for manufacturing companies in Kosovo. He also spoke about the need to change the policymakers’ perception towards entrepreneurs in Kosovo, emphasizing that through close cooperation, parties can discuss possibilities of strengthening the manufacturing sector in general and the rapid economic recovery after the end of the pandemic. Prishtina further said that manufacturers from the Balkans are planning to start manufacturing of products which have so far been contracted in other countries, in order to meet the domestic consumption needs, as well as the needs of the European continent in general.
AmCham’s virtual forums are supported by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the EU’s Enterprise Development and Investment Facilitation Program.