* Business leader to steer restructuring, privatisation
* Government under pressure to rein in borrowing
* Seeking investors for drugmaker, steel plant, copper mine
(Updates with Vucic confirmation)
By Ivana Sekularac
BELGRADE, Aug 19 The head of Serbia's Chamber of
Commerce was nominated on Tuesday to take on the restructuring
and selling of hundreds of state enterprises as economy minister
in a government under pressure to rein in borrowing.
Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said Zeljko Sertic, a member
of his own Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), would take on the
post pending parliamentary endorsement.
Vucic heads a coalition with a strong majority in parliament
after the SNS performed well in the last election in March.
"We need someone who will confront big problems such as
companies in restructuring and others; Sertic faces a tough
job," Vucic told reporters in the town of Obrenovac, southwest
of Belgrade, the Tanjug state news agency reported.
If endorsed by parliament, the 47-year-old would succeed
Dusan Vujovic, who swapped the economy portfolio for the finance
ministry this month.
Vujovic replaced Lazar Krstic, who resigned as finance
minister in July citing a lack of support from Vucic for the
radical spending cuts he had advocated to cut the budget
Sertic is a graduate of the Faculty for Business and
Industrial Management at the private Union University in the
northern city of Novi Sad. He has run a series of private
businesses and was appointed head of the Serbian Chamber of
Commerce in March 2013.
As economy minister, Sertic will steer the privatisation of
some 500 mainly loss-making state enterprises, due for
completion by Dec. 31, 2015. The process is a central plank of a
government drive to rein in borrowing, with the budget deficit
set to reach 8.3 percent of national output by the end of the
year and public debt heading for 73 percent.
Serbia's privatisation agency last week invited letters of
interest from potential investors in 502 firms, including
drugmaker Galenika and Bor copper mine, one of Europe's largest.
Serbia's economy is forecast to contract by 0.5 percent this
year due to devastating floods in May that hurt the energy
sector in particular. Unemployment in the second quarter stood
at 20 percent.
(Editing by Matt Robinson and Louise Ireland)