22nd April, Washington – The darkness in the first half of 2017 turned into light in the second half for Macedonian economy, and at the beginning of 2018, there are already indicators indicating its recovery, Minister of Finance Dragan Tevdovski said in an interview for VOA, taking part in the IMF and WB Spring Meetings in Washington.

As Minister of Finance underlined, in 2018, the initial indicators show growth and boosted economy.

-In January and February this year, industrial production surged by 5.6% compared to the previous year. Export experienced significant growth of 24%. During the first months, the lending activity was intensified with respect to the companies as well, speaking in good favour thereof, given that it was mainly present at the households in the past period. Wages in Macedonia also stared to increase, picking up by 5.6% on annual basis, thus increasing the average wage by Denar 1,250, and for the first time, the average wage amounts to more than Denar 24,000. These were the first signals that Macedonian economy is on the right track, 2017 was both positive and negative, by which the first half of the year was hard, while the situation in the second half has already started to improve. Now, we may expect for 2018 to be significant upturn, whereby the economy will continue to move in the right direction – Tevdovski said in the interview.

European Commission’s recommendation for Macedonia to start EU entry talks will also boost the economic growth.

-This is very important, since according to all theories, the economy is driven by the expectations of the economic entities. This means that such strong signal, such as the EC’s recommendation and the message of Mogherini that Macedonia is again on the right track, will provide for improving the expectations and will stimulate the companies to invest, thus contributing to higher economic growth. The fact that we are getting back on the right track as regards the European integration will attract the foreign investors to our country. This means that Macedonia’s EU Path will lead to higher foreign investments this year and in the coming years, given that all countries in the region moving in that direction have made this happen. Tevdovski said.

In order for the economy to move forward, more reforms are needed, among which the first one is fiscal transparency, Minister of Finance said, pointing out that a number of activities and measures have been undertaken for the purpose of greater transparency.

– This was praised by the IMF and the World Bank. Ministry of Finance is undertaking numerous measures: starting from publishing Citizen’s Budgets, publishing so-far unpublished data, requiring from all institutions to publish the public contracts on the respective websites, all this to the end of greater fiscal transparency. Fiscal transparency means that the public puts pressure on spending the citizens’ money properly. We are also undertaking series of reforms in all areas, above all in the field of public finance. These are reforms as regards the public procurement system and the control mechanisms of the country, so as to increase the efficiency of public spending – Tevdovski said.

Tevdovski expects for the first significant round of reforms to be completed in the upcoming 12 months. In addition, more investments are expected as a result of Macedonia’s EU path, as well as improvement of the economic outlook and achievement of positive results above the country’s potential.

Also available in: Macedonian

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