Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
The Foreign Trade Chamber of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FTC), an institution that should represent and promote economic interests of the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina, last week organized workshops promoting advertising on Google and Facebook – companies that do not pay any taxes or are registered in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
For the third consecutive year, the Foreign Trade Chamber of BiH has organized seminars on Facebook and Google marketing. Workshops under the theme “Digital Marketing in Business” are organized this year in cooperation with Lilium Digital Communication. The Google marketing workshop was held on 5 February, and Facebook marketing workshop on 8 February, at the premises of FTC BiH in Sarajevo. Workshop participants paid a registration fee of BAM100 or BAM180 (€50 or €90 for both workshops) so FTC would teach them how to spend their money on Google and Facebook.
Google & Facebook have no registered offices in BiH, and don’t pay any taxes
Neither Google nor Facebook have any registered companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and they don’t pay any taxes to the country for the sale of advertising space. According to certain estimates, Bosnia and Herzegovina has so far been damaged by several million BAM on this basis. Other countries, aware of this problem, have charged millions of dollars to these companies through various deals because their activities are carried out in one country and the taxes are paid in another. Google alone had to pay the $186 million to the UK in 2016 on this basis.
Foreign Trade Chamber of BiH, which should promote domestic companies, told the journalists of klix.ba they are aware of the fact that Google and Facebook are registered in Ireland, where they pay taxes and operate on the territory of the entire European Union and beyond from there, but this did not stop them to organize a seminar for domestic firms and encourage them to funnel their advertising money to these companies without a representative office in BiH.
“Every state reserves the right to determine its taxes, excises, penalties and all other regular income of that country. We believe that everyone in Bosnia and Herzegovina who are engaged in the provision of services and the production of goods should and must pay the appropriate taxes and other obligations,” said Šejla Delić from Foreign Trade Chamber of BiH.
However, Delić believes that in this case the Foreign Trade Chamber of BiH is not promoting advertising on Facebook and Google, nor in any other advertising channels. She claims this is “simply about education”.
Facebook and Google aren’t the only form of “digital marketing”
Mario Grgurevic, director of one of the BiH media advertising agencies, Reach, said he was surprised that the Foreign Trade Chamber of BiH, under the term “digital marketing”, selectively opted to promote advertising exclusively on Facebook and Google, excluding all other internet media and services.
“It would be more logical if they wanted to promote digital marketing at least to promote the entire digital advertising industry – internet portals and services, including Google and Facebook,” Grgurević told Klix.ba.
Grgurević argues that advertising on Google is far from inefficient, but added that research has proven that activation across all channels, depending on the target group, gives the best results. He believes a serious online campaign requires a quality media mix that, in addition to social networks, includes local internet media and services.
Bruno Bojić, vice-president of the Foreign Trade Chamber of BiH, said he believes FTC BiH should not support companies that do not pay taxes to BiH, but stressed that media representatives are also to blame partly, because they never expressed interest in making a group at the Foreign Trade Chamber of BiH, despite his many calls to the industry for collaboration, Bojić claims.
Editor-in-chief of the Start BiH magazine and the chairman of the Board of the Press Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dario Novalić, believes that the task of the Foreign Trade Chamber of BiH is primarily to develop and assist domestic companies.
“For several years in a row they have been doing workshops on advertising for Google and Facebook, which are companies that don’t pay taxes and don’t have offices in BiH, and I think it would be an understatement to call this simply unfair. On the other hand, I think it would be very good for the FTC BiH to try and contact with the media in BiH, electronic and other types, and perhaps see with them what would be the right way for local entrepreneurs to advertise their products in BiH as well as abroad. All of our media have an audience in BiH and abroad as well,” Novalić told Klix.ba.