The development of the North of Montenegro must be an obligation of every government and a policy that cannot be debated, said Duško Marković, Prime Minister of Montenegro from 2016 to 2020 year, from the panel of the Bijelo Polje Business Forum on the topic of the impact of capital investments on balanced regional development. Hasan Ramović, president of the Council for Economic Development of the Municipality of Bijelo Polje and one of the founders of this gathering moderated panel.

- We say this because of the objective needs of not only the citizens of the North, but the overall economic and development policy of the state. There is no happy and economically developed country without a developed north - said Marković.

He stated with regret that today the northern region is the least developed, with the lowest standard of living of the population, and notable internal and external migrations.

- Investments in the north are necessary because we have huge unused development resources in different sectors - agriculture, tourism, energy... - he stated.

The government he presided over, Marković recalls, focused on the development of this region.

- The North was at the center of the development policy of the 41st Government and the capital budget was strongly focused on its development. From 350 to 400 million euros of the capital budget, 80 percent went to projects in the North - said Marković and recalled the valorization projects of Bjelasica and Komovi, Cmiljača, Hajla, Žarski and Đalovića cave, worth over 100 million euros.

Marković states that these projects are difficult to carry out today, so he believes that no government should allow the development projects that have been started to be stopped, for which the funds have been allocated. He added that the 41st Government allocated 90 million euros for projects from the funds received through economic citizenships.

- The started projects must be completed during the term of the new Government and the citizens of the North must be vocal about how they encouraged it - said Marković.

- It was caricatured in the public: what will ski resorts do for us, do we have adequate altitude for them, will we attract tourists... By building a ski resort, you valorize the most beautiful mountains in Europe, build access roads and other infrastructure, develop water pipes, IT facilities, as well as quality level of services. One investment of 100 million euros in a ski resort means one billion euros of benefits for the economy and citizens of Montenegro - concluded Duško Marković.

His interlocutor on the panel, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Capital Investments, Admir Šahmanović, spoke about the activities of this department in the North, with a special focus on the implementation of the highway and the construction and reconstruction of other roads, projects in the energy sector, the valorization of the airport in Berane, introducing the participants of the Forum to concrete realized investments. in those projects.

- Capital projects are the main driving force of economic development and only a developed North means good for all citizens of Montenegro and all regions of our country - said Šahmanović.

According to him, the traffic projects lead to a better connection with the region, to which the unique border crossing with Serbia in Bijelo Polje will contribute.

- The highway is the biggest MNE project and the effects are visible even in the first year of its operation. 2.3 million vehicles passed through the highway and the effect on Kolašin is immeasurable and we are witnessing a "boom" in the real estate market and the growth of tourist visits - he said.

Šahmanović concluded his presentation with a clear determination to contribute to the development of this region.

- Our priority will be for the North to reach the level of development of other regions - he said.

Maja Đurović, assistant director of the Directorate for Capital Projects, spoke about the details of the infrastructure projects being implemented. She said that these are projects that contribute to the improvement of life and work of the inhabitants of the North, as well as the tourist attractiveness of mountain centers. She spoke about the valorization of Durmitor, Đalovića Cave, the construction of a water supply and snow making system at the ski resort in Kolašin, the ski resort at Cmiljača and the accompanying infrastructure, but also pointed out certain problems, primarily of an administrative nature, that hinder the implementation of projects.

Nihad Canović, President of the Municipality of Plav, emphasized during the panel that the needs of the North are not only the needs of its inhabitants, but of the whole of Montenegro.

- We cannot have a developed European country, Montenegro, without the development of the North. Infrastructure is the main problem of the underdevelopment of this region. We cannot talk about the development of the economic environment if we are left without electricity at the first snow, if a landslide blocks us from the rest of the country - said Canović.

He thanked the 41st government and its Prime Minister Marković for their sincere commitment to the development of the North, recalling that during her mandate, roads were built that better connected Plav and Gusinje to the surrounding area.

- We can witness a greater number of tourists as a concrete result of these projects. Because, if we want to bring people from around the world, we must first come from other parts of Montenegro and the surrounding area - said Canović.

He noted with regret that the Plav-Bogićevica-Dečani highway projects, which would open Plav to tourism, have not yet been implemented, nor has the revitalization of Plav lake.

- I believe that the new government will solve these problems - said Canović.

Tomo Knežević, a businessman who managed Lipska Pećina for seven years, spoke about the wealth represented by Đalovića Cave.

- Experts say that Đalovića Cave is one of the most beautiful in Europe. You have a diamond here, and how you polish it depends on what kind of tourist product you will get. Đalovića Cave could have from 50 to 100 thousand visitors. You have to create facilities, souvenir shops, open a hotel, market local agricultural products - said Knežević.

He believes that Montenegrin attractions do not have adequate supporting infrastructure.

- Đalovića cave was there a million years before people, don't let the entrance fee for such an elite attraction be three or four euros - said Knežević.

He emphasizes that the state must not have a stepmotherly attitude towards the natural beauties of the North.

- Only five percent of income from tourism to take the North? It's a joke. Let's open the North because it is a development opportunity. It is necessary to create a 10-year strategy that will be respected by all governments. We need to have a special minister of tourism - said Knežević.

This topic sparked great interest in the questions and suggestions of businessmen, as well as representatives of the Chamber of Commerce of Montenegro.