Economic miracle of the BiH economy: Tešanj overcame the pandemic better than any other city in the country

According to the data of the Tax Administration of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the first 11 months of 2020 in the municipality of Tešanj, the total turnover through fiscal devices of 1,280,203,487.27 BAM was recorded, which is the highest turnover compared to 12 municipalities or cities in Zenica-Doboj Canton. According to this economic indicator, Tešanj is the seventh municipality or city in FBiH. More was paid only in the Sarajevo municipalities of Novi Grad (3,068,174,007.74) and Ilidža (2,720,057,308.83), then Tuzla (2,324,638,491.20) and Mostar (2,240,461,607.53), which are also cantonal headquarters, as well as the Sarajevo municipalities of Centar (1,993,325,174.96) and Novo Sarajevo (1,483,933,324.07).

Now, for the first time, Tešanj overpassed the City of Zenica (1,279,502,156.58 BAM), which has twice the number of inhabitants, as well as its headquarters, and most of the cantonal companies in ZDC are registered in the city.


When it comes to the economic exchange of goods and services, Tešanj economy during 2020 achieved a trade volume of 722,139,438.00 BAM, of which exports amounted to 357,004,099.00 BAM, which is 3.3% of total exports of Bosnia and Herzegovina from the area that makes up only 0.3% of the territory of our country. This leads us to the conclusion that exports from the said area are 11 times greater than the share of the said area in the area of ​​our country.

The economy in Tešanj was facing the consequences of the pandemic, as well as in other parts of our country, and the rest of the world. It should be noted that during 2020, Bosnia and Herzegovina achieved a lower economic exchange of goods and services with the world by 20.21% compared to 2019, while this reduction on the example of the local economy in Tešanj amounted to 11.7%, which is twice less than the national level. Exports of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the same period decreased by 8.79%, in FBiH the decrease in exports was by 9.99%, while the local economy of the municipality of Tešanj had a smaller decrease than both levels and it amounted to 7.4%. It can be concluded that the economy of the municipality of Tešanj overcome the consequences of the pandemic more successfully than the rest of our country. The number of companies remained at the level before the pandemic with the emergence of new companies operating in various industries,” said Prof. Dr. Ismar Alagić, B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering, Director of the TRA Agency for Development of the Municipality of Tešanj.

Alagić adds that last year there were 13,327 employed people in Tešanj, of which 12,689 had a residence in the area of ​​this municipality, while the number of unemployed was 5,811.

For the sake of comparison, the number of employed people was a record in December 2019 and amounted to 13,871 persons, while in the same period the number of unemployed persons amounted to 5,754. The presented data speak in favor of the fact that the economy of Tešanj has overcome the challenges of the pandemic quite well, and in the next period, record indicators are expected to be fully reached before the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus pandemic“, says Alagić.

Despite numerous economic challenges in the past year, TRA Municipal Development Agency Tešanj achieved record results and managed to contract projects in the amount of 1.6 million BAM, which is 13 times more than the financial support coming from public sector support.

We must emphasize that these are some multi-year projects aimed at increasing competitiveness, innovation, digitalization and decarbonization in the business of domestic companies. Our agency has already become widely recognizable, so that in 2020 more than 550 participants from various programs passed through our trainings, such as training in working with SolidWorks and SolidCAM, training of welders and fitters, Academy for Managers and Management, School of Plastic Injection, Academy for Export Agents, Academy of Digital Technologies, Academy for Production Managers, Academy of Project Management, etc. We expect that our turnover has increased by 57% compared to the previous year. Among the participants in our training during December, we achieved that, after the training in December 2020, as many as 40 participants in our trainings were employed in local companies. We have focused our activities on the activities of the Center for Providing Business Excellence Services and we are already recognized as a resource center for the metal processing industry for the whole Bosnia and Herzegovina. Namely, during 2020, our services were used by more than 150 companies that come from the area of ​​more than 50 local communities in BiH“, explains Alagić.


Tešanj’s economy is very proactive in the field of foreign trade, so that in 2020, it exports to the markets of more than 69 countries, and imports from the markets of 46 countries.

In the field of exports, our most important partners are Germany, Italy, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Serbia, Croatia and Turkey. When it comes to imports, Germany, Italy, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey, Hungary and the Netherlands are the most important partners. What can be seen is that the most important foreign trade partners are Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, with which the economy of the municipality of Tešanj has a surplus in foreign trade of goods and services, while trade with Slovenia is at the level of equal imports and exports. This leads us to the conclusion that the coverage of imports with exports of 97.77% is a far better result than the coverage achieved in 2020 by Bosnia and Herzegovina with 62.89%, FBiH with 59.40%, RS with 76.20% and Brčko District with 50.68%“, Alagić points out.

Speaking about the most common problems faced by businesspersons in Tešanj, Alagić tells us that TRA’s activities are aimed at direct support to the business community through numerous support programs that are an integral part of their projects.

In cooperation with young IT professionals from our area, we built the Tešanj Connected platform, which should connect employers and unemployed people in the labor market. Then we are working on building a digital technology platform that should be a kind of knowledge database for primarily metal processing and other companies. Then, we did a situation analysis with action plans for companies in the metalworking sector, through which we have identified more than 100 companies, and for those who have the potential for growth and development, we will provide support through the support instrument “small-wins”, support introduction of international quality standards, support for the introduction of information systems for integrated management of company resources, better connection of schools and universities with the economy, business connection of our companies with partners outside BiH and more,” said Alagić.

Last year, the TRA Agency managed to secure project approval from all significant support programs available for Bosnia and Herzegovina, related to entrepreneurship development and economic development such as IPA CBC HR-BIH-CG, EU4Business, USAID Workforce Development Program … The value of approved projects in the past year alone was 1.6 million BAM. The director of the Agency Dr. Alagić approved more than 30 projects whose value exceeds 5.5 million BAM, of which 26% are the funds of the founders, and 74% are donor funds of which more than 96% are funds from foreign donors.

These are the data that rank them among the most successful development agencies in BiH, especially looking at the annual turnover of the agency per employee in the last 10 years in continuity. Namely, they have only 4 employees, and the results achieved in the past period are, as they point out, a kind of obligation for the next period.

All our activities are aimed at meeting the needs of our service users. Through our training programs we have developed specialized training manuals such as Value Chain Management – Supply and Logistics, Entrepreneurial Infrastructure, Export Guide, Lean Six Sigma, Handbook for CNC Operators, Local Government and Local Economic Development facing the challenges of smart cities and industries 5.0, Handbook for managers in the production and maintenance of technical systems-leaders of the future, Polymer processing (injection molding, processing and joining technologies).

During 2021, the Manual for Projects and Production Management, Industrial Design and Engineering Computer Graphics, Connection Techniques and Assembly Systems, Assembly of Mechanical Structures and Work Safety and Foreign Trade Business will be prepared. The topics we cover represent current trends in modern industrial production, which are rarely covered in our area. In this way we keep pace with the highly developed world and provide support to our companies. As you can see, our trainings are characterized by the best programs/topics and top lecturers, the latest technical equipment and associated manuals for each training program,” said Alagić.