The Republic of Srpska plans to review all concession contracts in the energy sector this year and to annul the ones which aren’t making progress for no particular reason, portal Nezavisne.com said. Then new public calls will be launched for investors.
Sources from the entity’s police ministry said some checks have already started for cases which are not meeting deadlines. The concession authority’s data shows 276 contracts have been signed since the year 2000, mostly in the sector under the responsibility of the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining, with 198 documents. They include hydropower projects by HES Vrbas, the only ones granted by the government itself.
Nezavisne say the activities have the support of investors, which argue that the review will show who the speculators are. Minister Petar Đokić said the government wants energy projects to progress as fast as possible. He stated negotiations are ongoing with the representatives of HES Vrbas, who claim damages of BAM 46 million (EUR 23.5 million), but that there is no need for arbitration. Đokić said the company’s investments should be estimated realistically, so that the value can be reimbursed.
The agreement on the construction of the 48.5 MW Krupa hydropower plant and the 37.2 Banja Luka – niska facility was signed in November 2004, and valued at EUR 164.7 million. The concession period was supposed to be 25 years, after four and a half years of construction. Under pressure from a public campaign by a coalition of over 30 non-governmental organizations, and almost 20,000 signatures in a petition, the Banja Luka City Assembly adopted a resolution in 2005 to oppose the project, which made it unfeasable, according to the Center for Environment (CZŽS), an environmentalist group. It issued a statement in early October of 2015, praising the termination of the contract.
The firm secured guarantees for only EUR 1 million in the project worth EUR 165 million, according to findings by portal Rtvbn.com. MBB WS Energy GmbH from Munich had a stake of 79% in 2006, while Viadukt from Portorož, Slovenia, had 20% and Građevinar from Kraljevo, Serbia, had 1% of shares. A registration document from last September shows the company have BAM 51,000 (EUR 26,000) in capital.