24th April 2020, Skopje – Starting Wednesday, 29th April, micro, small- and medium-sized companies in all sector, affected by COVID-19 crisis, can apply for EUR – million interest-free loans via the Development Bank of North Macedonia. Loans under this credit line will be in the amount of up to EUR 90,000, whereby applying requirements are eased. Minister of Finance, Nina Angelovska, Chief Executive Officer of the Development Bank of North Macedonia, Kire Naumov, and Director of the Central Registry, Marija Boskovska Jankovski, attended the public presentation about the new interest-free credit line, which is an anti-crisis measure in managing the Coronavirus crisis.

All affected companies can apply for this credit line, i.e. companies experiencing more than 30% decline in revenues in the last expired month, for instance, in March compared to the same month last year or in relation to the average monthly revenues in 2019. Companies are to be registered for more than half a year, no tax and contribution defaulting by 31st January 2020, not undergoing any bankruptcy or liquidation procedure and not falling within the category of extremely risky borrowers.

Minister of Finance Nina Angelovska pointed out that interest-free loans are intended for preserving the jobs in the companies and boosting their liquidity.

– Unlike the first credit line, this one is intended for all sectors, and the maximum loan amount is three times higher in relation to the first credit line, i.e. the minimum loan amount is EUR 3,000 and the maximum loan amount is EUR 90,000. Loan amount is determined on the basis of the number of employees as of 31st January 2020 inclusive, i.e. the minimum wage times the number of employees and times 3 months. As the name of the credit line speaks for itself – the interest is zero. Development Bank will also charge no application fee. Loan repayment period is up to 3 years, including up to 12-month grace period, while the loan is secured with a promissory note, Angelovska said.

– The applying process commences on Wednesday, 29th April at midnight, while the public call is available on the Bank’s website as of today. The applying will be carried out electronically, following the “COVID-1” example. Although the loan amount is calculated on the basis of the formula Denar 14,500 x 3 month x number of employees, micro companies are not left out. Micro companies employing up to 5 persons can apply for interest-free loan up to EUR 3,000- Naumov said.

The whole applying procedure will be carried out electronically. Most of the documents can be found on the Development Bank’s website, including the application itself, statement on related parties (legal entities/natural persons), statement on non-performing public official capacity and statement on credit exposure verification. The companies will submit electronic request for a certificate on paid taxes as of 31st January 2020 inclusive to the Public Revenue Office.

Development Bank and the Central Registry also concluded an agreement under which the Central Registry will provide, free of charge, the documents required from the borrowers, i.e. no bankruptcy procedure certificate, no liquidation procedure certificate and a listing of 2019 annual account, Director of the Central Registry said.

– An additional advantage is that in conditions when it is necessary to adhere to the public health protection recommendations, the clients do not need to come to the Central Registry premises to obtain the necessary documents nor to use the e-services of our institution which are available 24 hours. Under the agreement concluded with the Development Bank, it is envisaged for the Central Registry documents, which the borrowers need, to be electronically downloaded by the Development Bank employees, CR Director Boskovska Jankovski said.

Interest-free loans are provided through the Counterpart Funds from Japan.

– We fully support the measures taken to use the EUR 8 million Counterpart Funds from Japan to support the Macedonian businesses. I hope this measures will help the businesses continue and the employment be secured. Every country is fighting against the Coronavirus and in these difficult times we have to work together and support each other. Today, I am glad that we could reconfirm our strong friendship between North Macedonia and Japan, Ambassador of Japan to our country, Keiko Haneda, said in her video-call statement.

The companies have available, together with the new credit line, total of EUR 13.7 million interest-free loans via the Development Bank. So far, applications of 254 companies, requesting EUR 2.2 million and employing 2,853 persons, have been processed under the first credit line. In addition, the commercial banks will also make favourable loans available, with subsidized interest in the amount of EUR 50 million.

The measures adopted by the Government to support the companies can be grouped as follows – tax relief such as: profit tax and PIT advance payments exemption, 50% contribution subsidies, direct financial support for job protection, measures aimed at protecting the liquidity and regulatory, i.e. soft, measures for the citizens and the businesses.

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