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7th September 2021, Skopje – The First Annual Conference of the Ministry of Finance, which took place yesterday and today in Skopje, was wrapped up on Tuesday afternoon, summarizing the ideas and views presented and conveyed the observations made at the six panels. The observations will be shared with the panelists and the moderators in writing in an official document, a document to be used when designing both the 2022 Budget and the priorities.

– Concrete results from the Conference are for the observations to be part of the policy making. This initiative is not doing things just fast. Since we were all together, I think we have a bright chance to go together and successfully far and also not taking credits by one or the other, but together, Minister of Finance Fatmir Besimi said at the closing of the Conference.

The Conference, organized for the first time by the Ministry of Finance, titled “Economic Recovery and Growth beyond COVID” within the Skopje Economic and Finance Forum, will grow into a tradition, to be held once a year, preferably spring next year as recommended at the Conference.

During the two-day Conference, high-level guests had panel discussions on the following topics: Global and Regional Challenges and Prospects of Recovery and Growth, Macroeconomic Policies and Public Finances in Post-Pandemic Times, Good Governance and Social Cohesion, Public and Private Investments and Competitiveness, Smart and Green Economy and Human Capital and Inclusive Growth.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and Minister of Finance Fatmir Besimi gave speeches for the official opening of the Conference on Monday, with the President of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski and Skopje City Mayor Petre Shilegov giving their opening speeches on the second day of the Conference.

“We are gathered here today to announce that we are not going to be defeated by COVID. We are part of a global alliance to combat the Coronavirus, thus, today we will talk not only about the recovery itself, but also about accelerated growth and development, as well as sustainable and green development”, Minister of Finance pointed out at the Conference opening ceremony.

He underlined that we learn from the past, act in the present and prepare for the future. – We have projected a growth of 4.1% for this year and an average annual growth of 5.4% in the next five years. To make sure that this will not remain just a wish, we have prepared Growth Acceleration Financing Plan, geared towards economic recovery beyond COVID, as well as accelerated and sustainable growth, while maintaining fiscal stability by mobilizing capital from the private sector in addition to the funds allocated from the Budge, Besimi stressed.

In his speech, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev assessed the national economy as stable with prospects for growth, indicating the recent statistical data on GDP growth in Q2 by 13.1%, adding that we can officially say that the economy exists the recession and begins recovering, as confirmed by our analyses as well.

He underlined that the Government team is dedicated and works continuously on preparing plans for the future medium-term development of the country, indicating the 2021-2027 Intervention Plan on Investments, which covers all investments planned to be launched in the country, including private investments by domestic and foreign investors.

– It is a strategic document with precisely defined elements, such as investment value, key investment areas, investment approach, etc. In parallel to the 2021-2027 Intervention Plan on Investments, Growth Acceleration Financing Plan has been prepared. The essence of the Plan is to finance the recovery of the economy from COVID-19, as well as to support accelerated and sustainable growth, while maintaining fiscal stability via capital mobilization from the private sector in addition to the funds allocated from the Budget and the borrowings, Prime Minister said.

What the plan defines is precisely set government structure of units and segregation of competences, which will lead to successful implementation. “We are planning to establish Delivery Unit, Monitoring Unit and PIM for the first time, which will provide for timely and full insight into the priorities, the pace of implementation, the weakness, the obstacles and the most urgent tasks. I am confident that this is the way how we can manage to overcome the institutional weaknesses and strengthen our capacities”, Prime Minister Zaev pointed out.

President Stevo Pendarovski underlined that global economy is still fragile, facing huge challenges, stressing that at present we can unfortunately give no adequate estimate for how long this condition will last and what the economic consequences would be at the end.

– Unlike last year, general economic forecast has improved, although the recovery, as per the expectations, is slow. Our economy is no exception to the global trends. When adopting all measures to protect the citizens, primary goal was to minimize the losses in the economy and to support the most affected sectors, to the extent possible given the circumstances. Against this backdrop, the companies continued to perform their activities, keeping the employees, and maintaining the quality of the products they deliver and services they render. It is clear that the losses are enormous and time will be needed for the Macedonian economy to recover, which even before the pandemic was not in great condition. However, what is of importance is that we have information and analyses to assess which decisions were wrong and should not be repeated, and which one yielded results, President Pendarovski said.

He pointed out that as individual countries we are not isolated enclaves and individual efforts cannot defy the danger threatening the whole human civilization. Therefore, joint actions are needed globally.

“Immunization is the key factor to exit the crisis. No slowdown pace is to be allowed during this process nor unequal distribution of vaccines. In times of crisis we need to turn to each other. I am confident our joint goal is to build a safer world, the priorities of which will be the wellbeing, the health and the happiness of the people, President Pendarovski pointed out.

He said that support is also to be provided to the young people educating themselves and creating in the country. They, as the President said, are the future of our society and the institutions should do everything in their power to support youth’s ideas and views. Adequate education is fundamental for development of human capital, the society is obliged to develop the potential of the young people and to invest in their ideas. Set of political and economic measures will be adopted in the post-COVID period to stimulate production of new and fresh concepts in this area.

In his speech, Skopje City Mayor Petre Shilegov, said that all of us, the citizens, the institutions and the companies, face losses in such troublesome times, therefore, as he said, we all have to engage in finding optimal solutions to facilitate the living, because, at the end of the day, we are all on the same side – the side of life.

I am confident that by exchanging ideas during this Conference, we will all together contribute to coherence of policies and strengthening the process of designing the Budget, both the state and the local one. Recommendations on policies and valuable conclusions arising therefrom will be an important input in designing the policies for the next year and in the longer run, Shilegov underlined.

The idea for organizing this international conference stems from the commitment of the Ministry of Finance as an institution geared towards promoting and implementing inclusive dialogue with the social stakeholders.

Also available in: Macedonian Albanian

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