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27th September 2020, Skopje – Quality will be primarily decisive factor in the economy, Minister of Finance, Fatmir Besimi said in an interview for “Radio Slobodna Evropa”. He stressed that the Government will promote diversity in the business sector, as practiced in the global companies and the international institutions.

Mr. Besimi, immediately upon taking office, you had to get to work on the Supplementary Budget. What is the amount of cash shortfall? How much money was lost to the State Budget due to the COVID-19 crisis?

Such circumstances imposed the need for a Supplementary Budget, whereby the exact figures will be identified upon the respective set of measures. Irrespectively, we are already working thereon. We came up with certain assessments as regards making cuts, i.e. allocating funds under the existing Budget. Regardless of the amount of the overall set of measures, nearing completion, the deficit will be potentially increased or borrowing will be made, all to the end of covering the new set of anti-crisis measures. It is expected to amount approximately as much as the so-far measures under the previous three sets aimed at coping with COVID-19 crisis.

First Deputy Prime Minister, Artan Grubi announced subsidies for ethnic employments in the private sector. Will funds be projected in next year’s Supplementary Budget therefor?

Under the 2020-2024 Government Program, it is indicated that this will be encouraged and incited by the Government, in cooperation with the private sector, all to the end of promoting good inter-ethnic relations and tolerance, thus creating a positive working environment in terms of exploiting the whole human potential in the economy.

Let me highlight, right away, what matters the most given the public’s reactions thereto. As regards the economy, the quality is a decisive factor not only in our country but in the whole world as well, and in my view, the citizens, regardless of their ethnicity, have their own qualities as both individuals and professionals.

The idea is for the diversity to be one of the most significant values as it is the case in the EU. As in the world’s most renowned companies, such as Google, whose CEO comes from India, the diversity in our country will also undoubtedly have positive impact on the economy, by keeping pace with needs on the employment market. I believe that this could, in cooperation with the business community, become a common process as per the quality and the market principles. Thereby, the Government supports the diversity promotion, as one of the EU’s most valuable principles, which is our aspiration as well.

Government policies need a whole more than just encouragement

This could be attained by cooperating with the business community. In this respect, regardless of the ethnic affiliation of the citizens, their professional and personal quality will be the primary preference, as conditioned by the market, i.e. the market conditions. Policies will be aimed at supporting the economy, creating new jobs, encouraging diversity, as practiced by the global companies and the international institutions.

Are there any analyzes demonstrating lower employment with some social or ethnic groups, so as to stimulate the increase of this employment rate?

The market will determine the companies’ respond on the employment market, and in this respect, the market preconditions have been the main postulate in the functioning of the market economy for centuries. Countries support the various policies, whether they are of social or another nature, as in this case, with the social reality diversity being promoted and supported. This is practiced in the global international companies as well, with their own human resource policies, whereby the diversity promotion is one of the fundamental values therein.

Public debt reached EUR 6.5 billion, i.e. almost 60% of GDP. What is the limit in terms of safe borrowing?

The standard debt levels for the EU countries are close to 60% of GDP in times when there is no crisis. However, if we look realistically, at present, the countries from the EU and the region, such as Croatia and Slovenia, which are closer to our country, with approximately 67% and 71% of GDP, experienced greater indebtedness. Thus, these parameters and limits should be considered in the medium term. In times of crisis, when there is no GDP growth, no income and no revenues with a pressing need for higher expenditures, including expenditures in the Budget, so as to cover the shortages in the private sector and among the citizens, the simple solution is short-term borrowing and debt restructuring, thus preventing over-indebtedness in the medium and long term. The public debt levels are different in the countries in the region, however, amid such circumstances, potential rising public debt is not a surprise given the major investment and infrastructure projects that need to be supported, which are of exceptional importance for our long-term growth and development, as well as our competitiveness.

 

Source: Radio Free Europe

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