12th November 2019, Skopje – So far, most of the funds under 2020 Budget have been invested in human capital, i.e. health, education and social protection. During the presentation of the 2020 Draft Budget, Minister of Finance Nina Angelovska said that total of Denar 154 billion will be invested in the field of health, education and social protection, accounting for 64% of total expenditures or an increase by around Denar 10 billion compared to 2019.

Minister of Finance stressed that in line with the World Bank’s human capital index, our country recorded 0.53%, being less than the countries in the region. Human capital index shows that every young person, born, living and educated in our country is able to deliver only 53% of his/her potential, i.e. out of the full potential a young person has, growing up in a healthy environment with quality both education and living conditions.

– According to me, as a young person who has upgraded, contributed and worked in this society, it is disastrous that instead of improving, the pillars of human capital: health, education, and social policy have  regressed for a long period of time. To that end, 2020 Budget has been focused on the population and improving the conditions in which people can fulfill their potential as much as possible – Angelovska said.

Angelovska stressed that in 2020, budget for health protection has been increased by 9%, which will amount to Denar 33.7 billion. Funds for health protection are intended for financing health services and undertaken measures in this field such as capitation increase, availability of pharmaceuticals throughout the month, increase of the wages of medical specialists, as well as increase of the wagers of the medical staff in public health institutions.

– Human capital in hospitals, doctors and the health workers have to be motivated to do their jobs, rather than think about going abroad. What we need is a highly-skilled staff in every hospital. We are constantly thinking about improving the conditions in the hospitals and constructing new ones. Why do we have to invest in decent and modern treatment conditions. We allocated Denar 1.5 billion for capital investments in the field of health – Angelovska said.

Minister of Finance underlined that quality education is a precondition for more productive future generations. Teachers help in shaping pupils from their earliest age, she said, adding that they, as a Government, are determined to show that their hard work is appreciated, as a result of which additional funds are provided for higher wages as of next year. 

– For the purpose of improving the conditions in the field of education, we also allocated Denar 1.4 billion for capital investments, reconstruction and construction of school buildings, sports and sports halls, student dormitories. Project for Reconstruction of Student Dormitories will also commence, in cooperation with KfW, and the realization of the Project for Construction of Physical Education Facilities in primary and secondary schools in the country, will also continue. For the first time this year, funds have been provided for launching a program for inclusive education – Angelovska said.

She pointed out that 80% of a child’s brain development occurs by the age of five. Starting from the principle that children have the right to quality preschool care, upbringing and education, the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia is committed to increase the scope of preschool children in day care and education facilities by 50% by 2021.  Angelovska said that Denar 360 million has been in allocated in 2020, being intended for construction of kindergarteners and increasing the existing capacities.

Angelosvska pointed out that ensuring adequate level of social protection for the most vulnerable is of special importance for reaching higher level of social justice.

– Hence, budget funds, on this basis, have been planned in the amount of Denar 10.5 billion, within which the already commenced reform of the social protection system is covered. Under this Budget as well, we allocate funds for deinstitutionalization and social services. As a result of the deinstitutionalization process, 180 children up to 18 years are supposed to leave the institutions, whereby most of them have already been covered under this Project – Angelovski said.

Minister of Finance stressed that 2020 Budget also envisages funds for improving the living standard for the elderly.

However, revenues projected in the 2020 Draft Budget amount to Denar 222,300,000,000 (EUR 3,615,000,000), being an increase by 5.6% compared to this year. As for budget expenditures, 5% growth is projected in relation to last year, hence total expenditures amount to Denar 239,700,000,000 (EUR 3,898,000,000).

2020 Budget deficit is projected at 2.3% of GDP, being lower compared to 2019 (2.5%), in line with 2020-2022 Fiscal Strategy and the recommendations of all international organizations.

Deficit is also reduced by Denar 160 million in absolute terms, amounting to Denar 17,385,000,000.

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