8th April 2022, Athens – “So far, approximately EUR 615 million has been allocated, geared towards cushioning the price shocks. Last year, the Government undertook measures aimed at cushioning the price surge, whereby, this year, set of 26 measures was additionally adopted, aimed at supporting the living standard of the citizens and the companies, as well as for providing financial support to companies via the Development Bank. The crisis can be turned into an opportunity to unite and further expand the EU and NATO. The strategic positioning of small and open economies is crucial in times of increased polarization,” Besimi said in his address at the Delphi Economic Forum held in Greece, being attended by top officials from 36 countries.
As regards the Russia-Ukraine war, Besimi pointеd out that despite the inconsiderable economic cooperation between Republic of North Macedonia and Russia and Ukraine, the effects therefrom are still indirectly reflected in our economy through the global rise in prices of energy products and commodities, as well as via the slowed down economic activities, coupled by the inflationary pressures in Europe as our largest trading partner. Moreover, Russia and Ukraine are one of the largest exporters of metal to our country, which is expected to reflect on our metal and construction industries.
“Amid price surge, in July last year, VAT rate on supply of electricity to households, was reduced from 18% to 5%, being valid as of June this year, inclusive. The same measure has been further extended by the end of 2022, being aimed at protecting the living standard of the citizens”, Besimi stressed.
The war in Ukraine as Besimi underlined, draw political attention to the need to boost domestic food and energy production.
“Reduced reliance upon energy and food imports, as well as diversification of the import should strengthen the resilience of our economies to future crises,” Besimi said, adding that despite climate changes, our country has relatively favorable weather conditions for increasing domestic food production, thereby calling the agricultural and food companies from Greece and the region to invest in projects in our country.
Minister Besimi pointed out that, at state level, emergency plans should be designed in case of Russia additionally reducing or in worst case scenario of Russia cutting off all gas supplies to the EU.
“In case there is such an initiative, we stand ready to take par in a potential mutual action at EU level, focused on joint procurement of natural gas. Authorities need to further build fiscal buffers and create a fiscal space so as to cope with any potential future interventions,” Besimi said.
Thereby, as he pointed out, we should strive to diversify energy imports and reduce energy reliance.
“Investments made in energy production infrastructure will be a top priority in the coming period. Government is also aiming to accelerate green and digital transformation, with a particular emphasis on energy efficiency. “Both public and private sector should support projects to increase energy efficiency, while raising public awareness about the significance of energy savings,” Besimi pointed out at the Delphi Economic Forum, held in the period 6th April – 9th April in Greece.