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The Buzz in Bosnia & Herzegovina: An Interview with Jasmina Suljovic of BH Legal

The Buzz in Bosnia & Herzegovina: An Interview with Jasmina Suljovic of BH Legal

Bosnia and Herzegovina
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Bosnia & Herzegovina is finally seeing the breaking of a two-year-old deadlock that paralyzed its securities commission and halted business, says BH Legal Partner Jasmina Suljovic, underlining the most important recent development in the country.

"The first thing that has caught the attention of the legal market in Bosnia & Herzegovina is the unblocking of the Securities Commission of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Komisija za vrijednosne papire)," Suljovic begins. "Ever since 2019, when one of the five members of the Commission retired, the regulatory body has been unable to reach a quorum, convene, and, essentially, work." The Commission is the ruling body when it comes to registering changes for stock companies – everything from changes to base capital all the way to registering the supervisory boards. "This has been a major problem," Suljovic says "because it paralyzed a lot of companies in doing their business, changing their governing bodies, or just getting on the market!"

Now, two years in, the President of the Federation of Bosnia & Herzegovina has announced that new members of the Commission are to be appointed, pending a parliamentary confirmation. "Finally, it appears that this stalemate will end," Suljovic says. The issue has reached as high up as the IMF, which, at one point, stated that the unblocking of the Securities Commission is a precondition for further credit financing to Bosnia & Herzegovina.  

Furthermore, Suljovic says that an informal philanthropic forum is set to kick off in the country. "This is a major advancement for philanthropy and humanitarian aid in Bosnia & Herzegovina," Suljovic reports. "The forum is initiated by the most prominent civil society organizations in the country and the region: Fondacija Mozaik, Fondacija Hastor, Pomozi.ba, Mreza za izgradnju mira, Fondacija Trag, and Catalyst Balkans with the financial support of USAID. This Forum is an informal venue for corporations, foundations, and people who contribute to a better society, allowing the philanthropic community to have more confidence in the giving process and improving the quality of life for philanthropic recipients." This philanthropic network will help the current situation in the country by "finally giving a push for legislative change that can stimulate more philanthropic behavior," Suljovic says. 

According to her, the corporate sector in Bosnia & Herzegovina is already quite helpful and giving, both in monetary terms and in kind, but is facing a lot of hurdles due to the fact that an appropriate tax regime for donations is lacking. "Tax deductions for philanthropic aid are capped at 3% – which does not incentivize giving," Suljovic reports. "Also, if a company wants to donate food, it has to pay VAT on it! This is sorely in need of an overhaul, which is what I think will happen now." Finally, Suljovic says that she hopes this will stimulate others to help as well and will aid in growing philanthropic endeavors in the country.

Bosnia and Herzegovina Knowledge Partner

Maric & Co Law Firm stands on the shoulders of more than 70 years of experience and practice in the legal market of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Having in mind that it is difficult to find a small country with such a complicated political and legal system, we are fully aware that quality advice requires deep understanding of different areas of law. In a country where legislation is created on state, entity and cantonal levels, without proper harmonization, and where the same regulation can be applied differently by two different courts, only domestic lawyers who are well-versed in local regulations and court practices, and who are highly specialized in their practice area, may actually help their client.

With this understanding, today, the firm Maric and Co is the largest law office in the country dealing exclusively with business law. This means that we provide wide expertise in resolving all issues that domestic and international investors encounter when setting up and operating businesses in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The scope of the office allows each of our attorneys to highly specialize in their fields, whilst the size of our team ensures delivery of premium advice and seamless service. Our firm seeks long-term partnerships with clients with the aim of providing the best and most complete solution to the client's legal needs. We are proud to say that our clients do not leave us.

We apply the same principles to our international affairs, aware of the fact that no foreign lawyer can have the same understanding of legal regulations of a country as a domestic lawyer. Therefore, our philosophy is not to open branches in countries where our clients do business, but to closely connect with top tier lawyers in those countries. Our law firm is one of the founding members of SEE Legal – a group of ten leading national law firms from 12 South East European countries. This network enables us to provide the best advice and representation in these countries. Additionally, as a result of our strong relationship with the majority of global law firms, we are able to provide law services anywhere in the world.

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