Skopje, 16th December 2013 (MIA) – Government remains friendly-oriented towards the private sector, cautious with revenue collection so as not to burden the economy, policy on lower taxes and fees continues, as well as ensuring more funds for new hospitals, schools, roads, … Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Zoran Stavreski said at the afternoon parliamentary debate on the 2014 Budget.

– This is the policy we conduct since 2006 onwards, when we reduced the taxes. On the other hand, much more funds were collected than our political opponent managed to collect, because tax evasion is reduced, and the companies, in this respect, are more relaxed, tax rate is lower, they have no reason to work in the grey economy like when SDSM was in power, Stavreski underlined.

According to him, as a percentage of GDP, fiscal burden rate of 34%, as it was in 2005, is identical to the rate of 33.9% in 2014.

– There is no increase of the fiscal burden, on the contrary, we have managed to provide more funds in the Budget on the basis of lower taxes, which we allocate to productive projects, roads, hospitals, ….., as well as projects that can boost the Macedonian economy in conditions of crisis. We will continue striving for realization of such projects in order to improve the life of the citizens, Stavreski pointed out.

2014 Budget lacks development component, it is unrealistic, containing failed projects, another pre-electoral manipulation and buying pensioners and social welfare beneficiaries’ votes, promise that administration salaries will be increased. It offers no possibility for boosting the economy and job creation. On the contrary, it will additionally impoverish the citizens, SDSM blamed.

– Government envisages 3.3% inflation and 2.4% increase of the gross salaries. It means that prices will grow more than the salaries, the citizens will have less money to pay the bills, buy food, to support their families. Real purchasing power will drop. It is projected for GDP to grow by 3.2%, while the deficit to account for 3.5%, which means that this year the Government will also borrow more than the Macedonian economy can generate, Marjanco Nikolov said, asking the Minister Stavreski to announce the amount of the public debt of Macedonia.

Nikolov first pointed out that adoption of the Budget was carried out under completely mysterious procedural conditions. He said that amendment-related discussion at the session of the Parliamentary Finances and Budget Committee was not completed, out of the total 684 amendments submitted, 393 amendments were not considered.

– I can agree for you to criticize one, two, five or ten things, but you have criticized everything. I cannot understand how you do not acknowledge that we have reduced unemployment, provided free textbooks for the children, free hospital treatment for the pensioners, EUR 200 for treatment abroad, scholarship for abroad, we have reduced the prices of pharmaceuticals, we have employed social welfare beneficiaries, we have adopted Law on Protection of Redundant Workers, we have managed to attract tens of foreign companies that created jobs, we build social flats, we have projects for the young couples to be able to buy a flat and a house, …. Stavreski replied.

The debate that everything is bad is not a constructive one and, as he mentioned, he did not at all expect such a debate by Nikolov.

– None of your predictions for this year’s Budget was realized, the public has seen who is right, Stavreski pointed out.

According to Pavle Trajanov, it is a fact that government economic policies serve the state. Highest economic growth in our surrounding is achieved, and economic development will continue. The Budget reflects the real revenues, projections will provide for a more dynamic and more stable economic development.

Trajanov emphasized the need for capital investments and preparation of a special program for job creation. He also talked about the gasification, welcoming the agreement concluded with Gazprom.

– Around EUR 500 million is envisaged for capital investments, however, all investments, public procurement, concessions, should be subject to analysis by the respective government bodies, since we are still fighting organized crime and corruption, Trajanov underlined.

He suggested for a priority to be given to investments in technical and physical protection of museums where our cultural treasures are preserved.

Tanja Tomik from SDSM disagreed with Trajanov that the Budget reflected the real picture as regards the revenue collection. What especially attracts the attention, she said, is that more than EUR 30 million is to be collected on the basis of fees and charges.

According to Ivon Velickovski from LPM, budget structure is not good. Everything which means borrowing of more than 3% of GDP, he said, is too high and unsustainable.

The opposition also blamed for the remaining agricultural subsidies for 2012 and 2013 which were not paid, as well as the investments in unproductive monuments.

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