JP Autoputevi Republike Srpske (PC Republic of Srpska Motorways) is in charge of planning, construction, maintenance and management of the republic’s motorways. The public enterprise, which began operating this year, is starting practically from scratch since the republic has only six km of motorways at present, with 27 km under construction and an additional 400 km of motorways planned. “We are looking for financing for construction of the 400 km of motorways in five phases. Two phases can begin next year, with another three in the next few years,” says Dusan Topic, Acting Director.
JP Autoputevi was created as a separate entity from the Public Company Republic of Srpska Roads, which handles all non-motorway roads for the republic, and now all motorway projects are being transferred to the new company. JP Autoputevi has received around €50 in funding from the government and €100 million from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) for the motorway projects already completed or under construction.
Now the company is seeking financing and partners for the remaining 400 km of motorways to be built. “One idea is to give concessions for this project, whose total cost is almost €3 billion,” Dusan Topic says. The government is currently in negotiations with international firms concerning awarding these concessions, but has not yet finalised a deal and welcomes contacts from potential partners.
Current projects closely overseen by EBRD and EIB
Dusan Topic points out that the motorway projects already completed or under construction in the Republic of Srpska to date have been closely overseen by the EBRD and the EIB. He says, “We have some experience with those banks, and more importantly these banks have experience with us. We are now in final negotiations with the EBRD for another loan agreement for a motorway interchange to connect with existing motorways. We are talking about a €21 million EBRD loan plus €5 million EC grant.”
JP Autoputevi aims to play a key role in demonstrating that companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and specifically in the Republic of Srpska, can do high-quality work which meets EU standards. “The problem in regional infrastructure companies in general is not corruption but rather a need for experience, quality, and technical support. In the end, the only way we can receive the European funding we need to complete projects and start new ones is to do high-quality work, so that is our main target. Quality is our focus,” Dusan Topic concludes.