7th July 2021, Skopje – Today, Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia in charge of Economic Affairs, Coordination of Economic Departments and Investments, Fatmir Bytyqi, Minister of Finance, Fatmir Besimi, and Director of the Development Bank of North Macedonia, Kire Naumov, promoted the new “COVID 4” interest-free credit line, which the companies can apply for starting 15th July.
During the press conference, Deputy Prime Minister Bytyqi reiterated that the Government has adopted six sets of measures so far, the total projected value of which amounts to around EUR 1.1 billion, as a direct support to cope with the consequences from the Coronavirus-induced crisis. The measures included three interest-free credit lines – “COVID 1”, “COVID 2” and “COVID 3” – from the Development Bank of North Macedonia, providing funds in the total amount of more than EUR 44 million, thus supporting over 4,000 companies employing around 37,000 people.
“Interest-free credit line “COVID 4” we promote today is in the amount of Denar 615 million or around EUR 10 million, and it is intended for supporting MSMEs in the sectors being most severely hit by COVID-19-induced crisis, the craftsmen paying taxes on real income, the sole proprietors and the private health institutions. The amount of the credit will be defined depending on the number of employees and the revenue decline, and it may amount from EUR 3,000 to EUR 30,000, with repayment period ranging from 36 to 42 months, including 12-month grace period. I would like to point out that this credit line also includes a grant component up to 50% of the credit amount, should the beneficiaries meet the necessary requirements: 5% increase in the number of employees in 2021 compared to 2020, higher total revenues by 10% in 2021 compared to 2020 or they can be awarded 20% or 30% grant funds if one of the requirements is met”, Bytyqi pointed out.
Deputy Prime Minister announced that, in the past year and four month, the Government put significant efforts to support and help the citizens and the business sector, in particular those most severely hit, in order to cushion the impact of the pandemic and to provide conditions for sooner and faster recovery of the domestic economy from the global crisis consequences. Gradual and stable improvement of the economic situation is evident, reflected through several macroeconomic indicators.
“Several statistical parameters show upward trend of the economy. In the last three months, industrial production grew as follows: by 7.6% in March, by even 46.1% in April and by 16.5% in May in relation to the respective months in 2020. Foreign trade experienced significant increase of 41.5% in the first 5 months in 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, export picked up by 44.3%, while import coverage by export in this period was 73.7%. According to the data of the State Statistical Office, total number of employed persons was 793,121, with a stable unemployment rate, accounting for 16%. Average net wage in April 2021 amounted to Denar 28,438, being 10.1% increase compared to April 2020. We are very close to reaching an average wage of EUR 500”, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Economic Affairs, Fatmir Bytyqi, said.
Minister of Finance, Fatmir Besimi, pointed out that this year will be a year of recovery, whereby Republic of North Macedonia will strive towards achieving the priority goals for accelerated growth and implementing the European Agenda.
“Priorities upon which the Government and the Ministry of Finance focus are achieving higher economic growth rates from 4% to 5% annually, as well as higher wages by 20% to 30% in the medium term, all to the end of increasing the living standard of the citizens. This will be attained by pursuing medium-term fiscal policy, to be geared towards investments, recovery and sustainable growth and fiscal consolidation. From the point of view of scaled-up investments, Ministry of Finance is in the final stage of preparing the Growth Acceleration Financing Plan, being aimed at mobilizing additional capital and multiplying the funds for investments by mobilizing private capital. This will provide for prompt realization of the planned development agenda, coupled with the fiscal consolidation of the public debt and the budget deficit in the medium term, investments in the public sector will be scaled up and support to investments in the private sector will be increased”, Besimi underlined.
The Minister stressed that EUR 100 million favourable loans from the European Investment Bank, the Agreement therefore already being signed, are a significant liquidity support for recovery from the effects from the COVID-19 induced pandemic.
“The funds are intended for investments or increase of working capital needs, with exceptionally low interest rates. One of the instruments envisaged in the Accelerated Growth Financing Plan is the Guarantee Fund, through which state guarantee scheme will be implemented. The Guarantee Fund will provide guarantees for loans up to EUR 500,000 for MSMEs, as well as large companies the revenues of which generated on the basis of export account for at least 30% of the total revenues, Besimi said.
Director of the Development Bank, Kire Naumov, presented the public call and the criteria for the companies in details, pointing out 15th July and 9 a.m. as the commencement date and the time for submission of the applications for this fourth interest-free credit line.
“By announcing the public call for “COVID 4”, additional EUR 10 million is made available to the companies experiencing at least 30% revenue decline in 2020. Following can apply for credit under “COVID 4”: entities not using the funds under the first measure within the fifth set of measures, i.e. the measure for financial support for wages for the months of February and March, entities not using the credit under “COVID 3” from the Development Bank and entities using the credit under “COVID 1” and COVID 2”, but having no outstanding liabilities on the day of applying”, Naumov said.
He also added that the necessary documents for applying are largely identical to those for the previous interest-free credit lines, while the mandatory documents include a credit application, NS (notarized signature) Form and statements that can be downloaded from the website of the bank where the public call is announced.