Skopje, 2nd December 2014 (MIA) – Macedonian Parliament adopted the Law on Borrowing a Loan by the Republic of Macedonia at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development under the Loan Agreement for Construction of the Eastern Section of Rail Corridor 8 from Beljakovce to Kriva Palanka, including the Reconstruction of the Existing Parts of the Line. 

It is a matter of EUR 145 million loan extended by EBRD to be used for construction of Beljakovce – Kriva Palanka Section, 34 km long, the second section from Macedonia towards Bulgaria within Rail Corridor 8.

As Deputy Minister of Finance, Ardian Xheladini, said, loan terms and conditions include 15-year repayment period and 4-year grace period. Interest rate is variable, six-month EURIBOR plus 1%. The Loan will be drawn down in tranches. The minimum drawdown amount of each tranche is EUR 250,000.

EBRD will also grant technical cooperation funds in the amount of EUR 670,000 to assist Project implementation, as well as support the capacity building component.

Railroad connection with Bulgaria, according to Xheladini, will contribute to better transportation system and connection of the country, thus increasing the trade, enhancing the competitiveness and encouraging the economic development.

In the course of the debate, VMRO-DPMNE MPs assessed that the Loan was extended under exceptionally favourable terms and conditions, adding that it was good that the Government paid attention to infrastructure construction, in particular in conditions when the focus was placed on attracting more job-creating foreign investments.

– This is of essential importance knowing that Macedonia is a landlocked country.  If one takes into account that maritime transportation is one of the cheapest, and Macedonia is a landlocked country, than attention needs to be paid to the development of railroad infrastructure, VMRO-DPMNE MP Krsto Mukoski, said.

His co-partisan Dragan Cuklev pointed out the significant level of investments in the past period in road and railroad connections of the state.

– Macedonia has learnt the significance of Corridor 8 from the blockades from the North and the South and the impossibility for an alternative transportation of goods during that period. We also faced frequent strikes of the employees at the Greek harbors and the railways in the past years, which had caused significant damages to the economy, Cuklev stated.

The Parliament adopted the Draft Law on Sovereign Guarantee under the Loan Agreement for Financing the National Roads Program, to be concluded between the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Public Enterprise for State Roads.

Under the Draft Law, the state guarantees the repayment of the EUR 160 million loan extended to the Public Enterprise for State Roads from EBRD for the purpose of realizing the National Roads Program. Loan terms and conditions include 15-year repayment period and 4-year grace period. Interest rate is variable, six-month EURIBOR plus 1%. 

The Program will be implemented in two tranches, the first one in the amount of EUR 74 million and the second on in the amount of EUR 86 million. The first tranche should provide for construction of the first phase of Prilep – Gradsko express road, reconstruction of Stip – Kocani road as an express road, while the second tranche should provide for construction of Ohrid – Pestani express road and Struga – Trebenista highway.

– The Program will contribute to improving the quality of road infrastructure and strengthening the capacities of the Public Enterprise for State Roads, Deputy Finance Minister Xheladini said.

Construction of new roads, according to VMRO-DPMNE MPs, will provide for an accelerated economic and tourism development in all regions and greater safety of all transportation participants.

In addition, EBRD will also grant technical cooperation funds in the amount of EUR 950.000 to assist Project implementation, as well as support the road building component. Public Enterprise for State Roads will service the loan from the revenues it generates, within the deadlines and under the terms and conditions determined in the Loan Agreement.  

MPs also voted for the adoption of the Law on Modifications and Amendments to the Law on Mandatory Oil Reserves and the Law on Modifications and Amendments to the Law on Leasing Business Buildings and Business Premises of the Republic of Macedonia, by applying the summary procedure.  Under the modifications and amendments, application of Article 56 of the Law on Mandatory Oil Reserves is postponed for one year. 

This will provide for ceding oil reserves to users pursuant to the existing Law, which is still in force, i.e. pursuant to Article 9-a, according to which mandatory reserves of oil derivatives can be also used in crisis situations, as well as other cases when urgent need for oil derivatives arises at the state bodies, public enterprises, public institutions and other legal entities and institutions established by the state, performing an activity of public interest, and municipalities, for the purpose of performing the activities prescribed by law. Sale and lease of sports facilities, which the Republic of Macedonia has the rights, the duties and the obligations over in terms of management, administration and disposal, will be extended by 1st May next year.

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