Skopje, 27th September 2012 (MIA) – It is a fact that the Government has a good year for the business sector and cooperates with the business sector. We are working with all possible measures, policies and funds from the Budget we can set aside in order to help the Macedonian business sector, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Zoran Stavreski, underlined, answering an MP question at today’s parliamentary session.
Stavreski said he could not agree with the opinion that the Government had not helped the companies so far.
– We could not agree with this opinion. When first signs of the global crisis appeared, Government adopted the first package of anti-crisis measures and we are adopting various packages to support both the economy and the business sector since. As regards the business sector, we exempted the companies, starting 1st January 2009, from paying profit tax, unless they distribute the profit as dividend, Stavreski said.
There is no country in Europe, as he said, offering their companies not to pay profit tax.
– Only Macedonia offered it to the Macedonian businessmen and many of them used this possibility to use the funds, not collected by the state on the basis of profit tax, for liquidity purposes, to overcome the crisis, some smaller-scale investments, etc. Second measure, applied to directly help the business sector in 2009 as well, was the package for reprogramming old debts of companies on the basis of taxes and interest, Stavreski said.
Large portion of the debts, as he underlined, were incurred by the companies during the ruling of SDSM or other previous government.
He explained that the Government agreed with the companies to pay as much as they could, and the rest of the debt to be reprogrammed for a period of 36 months.
– Hundreds of Macedonian companies were thus saved from collapsing or more severe consequences from the crisis. Other measures and packages followed later on, such as the EUR 250 million credit support with the lowest possible interest rate of 5.5% for the Macedonian SMEs. Something that did not exist in the last 20 years in the Republic of Macedonia, which proved to be the right measure, since in conditions of crisis, the banks extend less credits and financing, and Macedonian businesses could use such funds, Stavreski said.
In the years that followed, Stavreski informed, when businessmen asked to separate payment of VAT and payment of other taxes so they could manage liquidity easier, due to these problems with the crisis, we immediately met their demands and accepted for VAT to be paid on the 25th in the month instead of the 15th in the month.
– There are a lot of companies facing problems even today with the payment of taxes due to the crisis. We are helping a bit here, and the companies are also helping so as to overcome these difficult times together, Stavreski added.
According to him, if we see the final effects of the policy of the Government and the business sector, we can realize not only that there is no increase of unemployment in Macedonia, as is the case throughout Europe, but also that unemployment slightly dropped in the last four years.
He suggested to check the situation in the business sector in the neighbouring countries, like Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, …
According to Stavreski, more objectivity needs to be displayed as how the Government cooperated with the business sector.
– Last set of measures is the seventh or the eighth in a row of measures we adopted in cooperation with the business sector. In the meantime, we have adopted vertical measures to support the metallurgy industry, which is one of the pillars of the Macedonian industry, and the companies are more than satisfied, Stavreski said.
You, as a political option, can or cannot be satisfied, he pointed out, but it is a fact that the Government has a good ear for the business sector and it cooperates with the business sector, with all possible measures, policies and funds from the Budget we can set aside in order to help the Macedonian business sector.
Stavreski reiterated that taxes in Macedonia were not changed, adding that the Government made as much budget cuts as possible and was doing all it could so as not to additionally burden the business sector and the citizens.
Regarding the funds provided from the IMF and the World Bank, Stavreski said that they were not doing it out of altruistic reasons.
– Both IMF and the World Bank scan Macedonia as they scan any other country, they estimated that the Government conducts serious economic policies and that the Government has low level of indebtedness, low level of budget deficit and meets all their requirements and parameters so as to extend that much funds, Stavreski stressed.