Skopje, 15th September 2012 (MIA) – Government envisaged the negative GDP in the second quarter this year and undertook all necessary measures. In this stage, it remains focused on finding forward-looking solutions aimed at supporting the economy, protecting the business community, the citizens and the socially vulnerable categories, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Zoran Stavreski, said today.
Stavreski underlined that, during this period, the Government was primarily focused on underpinning the economy, improving its liquidity, protecting the income of the employees and preventing any larger-scale lay-offs.
– Data announced by the State Statistical Office for the second quarter this year were, in a manner, expected and also previously announced by us. The Government indicated the expectations that the second quarter would be negative.
Therefore, we undertook timely measures, taking actions in several areas. We adjusted the Budget with the Supplementary Budget in May and June, we kept capital investments at high level in order to contribute to supporting the economy, we provided two credit lines on time, prior to the announcement of these data, Stavreski stressed.
Effects of the two measures are yet to be seen, the one envisaging EUR 100 million for small- and medium-sized enterprises, and the other one providing EUR 11 million for the agricultural enterprises.
Vice Prime Minister mentioned once again that measures for the companies in the metallurgy industry were also announced, aimed at helping the companies in both provision of financial resources and adjustment to their demands, most of which were accepted.
– The Government also announced program for protection of socially vulnerable categories through performing public works, creating around 4,000 jobs therefore and additional working posts on the basis of temporary employment within the Employment Agency, protection of all other categories of citizens through timely payment of pensions, agricultural subsidies, … This is a serious package of measures for a small country like Macedonia, Stavreski underlined.
The Government, he added, remained open to cooperate with the businessmen and to discuss all other measures that could be accepted within the available budget funds.
– We remain open for a dialogue with the business community, we carefully listen to their proposals, analyze them and if we can we will accept them, we will put all efforts and potential available to help, Minister of Finance pointed out.
In fact, the problem is the European economy, the Eurozone, which is in recession with -0.8% in the second quarter, identically like Macedonia.
– This shows that there is full connection with the developments in the Eurozone and consequences therefrom for Macedonia. All neighbouring countries show negative rates, Slovenia experienced more than 3% decline, Croatia more than 2% decline, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, they all have negative rates. That is the reason why the Macedonian economy, fully oriented towards the European one, showed negative results in the first two quarters, Stavreski stressed.
Assumptions and developments in Europe are very unstable, therefore it is difficult to say any projections for the rest of the year. It all depends on the trends in the European economy.
– If situation in the Eurozone stabilizes, we can expect an improvement. If recession deepens and there is negative economic growth, it will be bad for all SEE countries, because they are small and two thirds of their export is oriented towards the European countries. Hence, consequences will be also felt in the region, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Zoran Stavreski, said.