Financial Support to the Cultural Sector During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Where
Serbia
When
2022
Who
Government of the Republic of Serbia
Describe the main features of the policy/measure: 
The Government of the Republic of Serbia has made significant efforts to protect cultural life by enacting financial measures for the cultural sector in order to encourage artists and cultural organizations to participate in a digital environment. First, under the state of emergency, the Government of the Republic of Serbia adopted a set of financial measures The Program of Economic Measures to Mitigate the Negative Effects Caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic and Support the Serbian Economy, which covered all business entities, including those in the creative industries. The support entailed several measures: • tax reliefs for the private sector in the form of deferred payment of salary taxes and contributions during the state of emergency, with liabilities paid in installments later (the earliest from 2021); • direct payment to business entities, with payment of three minimal wages to entrepreneurs, micro, small, and medium-sized companies in the private sector (which make up for the majority of entities in culture); • affordable credit programs with lower interest rates and guarantees; • payment of a one-time direct relief of 100 EUR in dinar equivalent to all adults in the Republic of Serbia, as well as those working in the cultural sector. Another important measure for independent artists was the government's decision to provide non-refundable financial aid to independent artists and professionals during the difficult times of the pandemic, in the amount of 2 million USD, paid in neto value to independent cultural workers for 90,000 RSD (873,79 USD). The City of Belgrade supported artists and professionals without regular jobs. Given that theaters and cultural institutions in Belgrade were closed at the beginning of the pandemic, the capital provided direct financial assistance to independent artists and professionals that collaborate with the cultural institutions of Belgrade.
What are the results achieved so far through the implementation of the policy/measure?: 
Many businesses, particularly those in the cultural sector, were able to retain economic activity as a result of the government's actions. In times of limited opportunities to perform in front of an audience during the pandemic, a total of 2682 independent artists and cultural professionals were granted significant financial support.
Financial resources allocated to the policy/measure in USD: 
The Program of Economic Measures to Mitigate the Negative Effects Caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic and Support the Serbian Economy included financial assistance totaling 5.8 billion USD or 11% of GDP. Because this support was extended to all business entities, the cost for the cultural sector is not known separately. Support in the amount of 90,000 RSD (878.79 USD) was granted to all artists with the status of persons independently engaged in an artistic activity (2372 artists), in the total amount of 2,073,092.60 USD. Additionally, the City of Belgrade, along with the management of 17 cultural organizations, provided financial support to artists in the city of Belgrade who was unemployed and did not meet the criteria for government support. As a result of this decision, 309 more artists received 90,000 RSD (873.79 USD) in assistance until cultural organizations resumed their operations. This support cost a total of 270,001.11 USD.
Partner(s) engaged in the implementation of the measure: 
Name of partner
City of Belgrade
Goal(s) of UNESCO's 2005 Convention
Cultural Domain(s)
Multi-domain
Transversal Priority(ies)
COVID-19
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