18th July 2020, Skopje – Governments need to do their part to make it easier for women to do business, create regulations and liaison platforms that would help them, and thus contribute to responding to COVID-19 crisis, as women could play a key role therein. Synergy that women can provide along with the e-commerce could significantly contribute to adapting to the New Normal, at the same time creating value added. This was pointed out by Minister of Finance Nina Angelovska at a panel as part of the 6-day virtual panel series organized by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) on COVID-19 Response and Recovery.

This high-level conference lasted 6 days, covering 6 issues related to COVID-19 challenges in cooperation with UN Women. Angelovska addressed the panel covering the topic: “Gender, Trade and COVID”, wherein the unexploited potential of women, their crucial role during the crisis, the impact of Covid-19 crisis on this target group, especially small-sized enterprises managed by women, was discussed. Representatives from the World Bank, UN Women, and ministries from other countries also took part in this event, whereby more than 800 listeners were registered therefor.

-Exceptional times require exceptional transformation and adaptation. This is a historic opportunity for both e-commerce and women. All should make their contribution thereto – Government should, thorough the regulations, focus on paving the way for the private sector and the women, providing for a climate for new business models, new ways of cooperation, e-sale platforms, e-commerce growth and opening of opportunities for greater competitiveness and conquering new markets. Private sector should put efforts in adapting to the New Normal – new working practices, adaptation to the business model and implementation of new technologies. We should encourage women, make it easier for them to contribute and get involved in the crucial processes. Now, it is more important than ever to unlock the unexploited potential of women – they will play a key role in the pace of recovery of our economies – Angelovska said.

She underlined the significance of e-commerce platforms, as well as the technology that will further play a major role in the New Normal. She said that Macedonian Government undertook activities to that end, such as introducing e-invoices, electronic applications, which were previously only in paper form, as well as that the measures speak in favour of the focus placed on the technologies such as the vouchers for co-financing trainings for IT skills, the quick adjustment instruments under the Fund for Innovation and Technology Development and the manner of implementing the measures as a whole. As for e-commerce, she stressed that was important was that the number of online stores and e-transactions increased and that the number of online stores opened in the course of March 2020 is almost the same as the number of newly opened online stores throughout 2019.

With respect to policies aimed at supporting women in crisis situation, Angelovska pointed out that the third set of anti-crisis measures adopted by the Government include the third interest-free credit line amounting to ER 31 million, which should be made available as of autumn. Grant funds accounting for 30% thereof will be allocated to the companies managed or founded by women, employing young people, being export-oriented or introducing innovations, digitalization and e-commerce in their operations.

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