Haki Rugova, Mayor of Istog
Haki Rugova, Mayor of Istog

Haki Rugova, Mayor of Istog, describes the municipality’s investment appeal.

European Times: What is the history of Istog?
Haki Rugova: Istog’s history dates back to the Roman Empire. During the Turkish era, Istog was known as a site for grain mills and wool-processing workshops. Istog has always been a prized location.

European Times: What does Istog offer foreign investors?
Haki Rugova: The municipality covers around 800 hectares, around 40% of which has not been developed, and contains a lot of building land ready for construction. Istog is known as one of the safest parts of Kosovo and offers a very positive environment for doing business. The municipality also has excellent infrastructure, including modern roads, water and sewerage systems. The municipality attracts a lot of tourism visitors, especially in the summer, which is a boost for local enterprises.

European Times: How about the business climate?
Haki Rugova: Business conditions are great! We have streamlined administrative procedures so that a business can be registered in only 30 minutes. Also, we have designated two industrial zones, one of which is already functional and has around ten factories operating. We are now planning to complete the infrastructure for the second zone, which will cover around 60 hectares. The price for the land in the zones is symbolic and everyone interested will receive land.

European Times: What are top sectors for investors?
Haki Rugova: The agriculture sector offers the greatest potential. We have high-quality farmland and several successful privatisations in the agriculture sector, including Devolli Group, which produces milk, and Trofta, which markets fish throughout the country. The tourism sector also has excellent development prospects thanks to our natural attractions, which include mountains suitable for ski resorts as well as the natural hot springs at Banja.

European Times: What partnerships has Istog had with international organisations?
Haki Rugova: We have had several successful projects with USAID, including for public lighting, sidewalks and roads, and the EU’s IPA funds have helped us build schools and roads. The EU, KfW, GTZ, the central government and the municipality also partnered in a major project to build a new water system.

European Times: What is your personal message to potential investors and partners?
Haki Rugova: I guarantee that I will do everything in my power as mayor to help investors have a successful business here. We offer a very favourable regulatory environment and ample building land, and we are very open to public-private partnerships.