BIH CHAMBER OF FOREIGN TRADE: The metal sector is the largest exporter in BiH
The metalworking sector is the leader in Bosnia and Herzegovina when it comes to exports, and the most significant problems in this area are the lack of labor of all profiles, especially those with experience and low wages.
The metal sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina has great potential and natural competitiveness, mainly due to existing resources. This area of the economy has been experiencing a big business boom for two years, and they are almost entirely export-oriented.
According to the official data of the State Chamber of Foreign Trade, the metal processing sector has the best results in trade, and it participates in total exports with 41.5 percent. On the other hand, the total import is 35.9 percent.
In the first half of this year, products with a total value of 3.9 billion convertible marks were exported from our country, which is 42 percent more than in the same period last year. The biggest contributor to this result was the increase in the export of aluminum and its parts, followed by iron and steel parts, as well as the export of the electrical industry.
On the other hand, metal products worth more than five billion marks were imported into Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is an increase of 42 percent compared to the first six months of last year. Partial data from the Foreign Trade Chamber of Bosnia and Herzegovina show that aluminum and its products are the most imported.
The economy of the Tuzla Canton is particularly focused on the metal processing sector, and almost 90 percent of metal workers there are export-oriented.
The volume of orders, especially from abroad, is increasing daily, but the picture of the upward trajectory is marred by the lack of skilled labor of all profiles with experience.
“We do very little for the domestic market, so we have positive examples in which certain companies are completely export-oriented, and they are located in Živinice, Kalesija, Srebrenik and Gradačac. Accordingly, the metal industry records increased exports, but the problem is that in In practice, such a salary increase did not occur,” says the president of the Union of Metalworkers TK Mešan Vildić.
In addition to our country, there is a shortage of experts in this field in the countries of the European Union, which is why BiH. workers generally decide to go to Germany, Slovenia, Austria and similar more developed countries, which offer them better conditions for existence, but also better social opportunities.
“The political moment and a state that does not offer security to its citizens are key to the departure of workers from Bosnia and Herzegovina. On the other hand, the problem is also in wages. We expect that in January of next year the topic of discussion will again be the increase of the minimum wage to one thousand marks, and that in order to achieve this, it is necessary to harmonize the amounts of taxes and contributions,” Vildić points out.
According to Vildić, BiH. companies lack workers of all profiles, including locksmiths, turners, welders, technicians, and engineers.
“The lowest hourly wage in the metal sector currently amounts to 4.40 KM, and the lowest salary is roughly 770 marks. We can say that the payments are stable, however, that amount is not enough to, for example, feed a family, according to the current prices of basic foodstuffs,” he emphasizes. he.
The rise in energy prices certainly affects all companies in the metal sector, and the daily increase in the value of basic and additional materials creates problems for all companies.
“We are dependent on basic material exclusively from the European Union, and in the current period of inflation, long-term contracting is also a problem for us, because if you contract it for a year or two, at the time of signing the contract, you cannot know whether something will happen on a global level that will make it impossible for you to fulfill your obligation,” adds Vildić.
Tuzla elements are most represented in Croatia, Italy, Austria, Germany and Sweden, and apart from the delivery of parts, BH. companies also send their workers to work in those countries of the European Union.
The metalworkers’ union said that the authorities must improve the social environment in order to stop an even greater outflow of labor, and facilitate the functioning of companies in this sector with financial incentives.