Skopje, 2nd June 2012 (MIA) – New EUR 111 million, through two out of the last 12 Government measures, are direct support to both economy and enterprises. According to Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Zoran Stavreski, such support, will help enterprises, in these troubled times, to provide operating assets and investment funds, as well as to preserve many jobs. As for the businessmen, represented in the three Chambers of Commerce, the support is welcomed, the conditions are exceptionally favourable and they expect for the funds to be available as soon as possible.
– Government provided EUR 112 million as support to companies in such troubled times, in conditions when orders from the European countries decline and when banks’ credits in Macedonia are lower than previously. Therefore, Government activities aimed at providing fresh EUR 111 million, which will be directly available to the companies in Macedonia to maintain liquidity and invest. In both cases, it is a matter of funds under exceptionally favourable conditions, existing neither on the domestic market nor in Europe, Minister of Finance said following today’s meeting with the representatives of the Chambers of Commerce in Macedonia and the Macedonian Bank for Development Promotion.
EUR 10.7 million in MBDP recapitalization will support companies engaged in buyout, processing and export of agricultural products. We decided to support a priority sector, by financing SMEs, which will obtain funds at a record low interest rate of only 3%, in the past 20 years, 5-year repayment period and 1-year grace period, Minister said, adding that this measure was upon request by the Chambers of Commerce and the companies. Out of these funds, companies may also receive operating assets, whereby the conditions will include 18-month repayment period and 3-month grace period.
EIB credit line in the amount of EUR 100 million is also allocated for the large companies (30% of the total amount) and the SMEs (EUR 70 million), at subsidized interest rate of 5.5%, 8-year repayment period and 2-year grace period.
– These are exceptionally favourable conditions to help companies obtain funds for both investments and operating funds. Thus, we believe we will manage to preserve thousands of jobs in Macedonia, as well as create new ones, although the times are troubled and we are all aware that this European crisis is additional burden, which the Government, together with the business community, the banks, NBRM, should jointly overcome, Minister Stavreski pointed out.
He believes the support will be successfully realized since it is a mechanism already proven to be successful in saving Macedonian economy and supporting Macedonian companies. – So far EUR 150 million provided by the European Investment Bank were used by 712 companies, by creating 3,200 jobs while EUR 35 million were directly used as operating assets, helping companies overcome difficulties, being also used by companies from 25 municipalities, showing its regional feature as well, Minister pointed out.
EIB funds will be withdrawn in tranches, whereby minimum amount of a single tranche is EUR 5 million, however, as Director of MBDP Dragan Martinovski pointed out, if companies show interest, they can be withdrawn in even less tranches.
Businessmen expect for the funds to be withdrawn and become operational as soon as possible.
– These funds are significant for the economy and they come at the right time, when they are most needed by the companies and they should become operational as soon as possible, Mirce Cekredzi Executive Manager of the Association of Chambers of Commerce of Macedonia said, adding that at present, one cannot confirm whether they will be sufficient for the companies to overcome the difficulties they face.
He pointed out that the conditions, under which the funds will be available to the companies, are exceptionally favourable at the lowest interest rate of 3% so far.
As for the President of the Chamber of Commerce of Macedonia, Branko Azeski, today’s meeting was an example for true continuous public-private dialogue. – Our commitments to developing infrastructure, export and investments in this crisis period in Europe will undergo certain changes. Therefore, we insist and want to conduct such dialogue between the Government and the private sector more often, so as to consider all possible changes occurring in the sectors that are driving force of Macedonian economy, Azeski said.
Fatmir Bytyqi, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce of North Western Macedonia, welcomed the measures, pointing out that they will not only mitigate the financial crisis of small- and medium-sized enterprises but they will also help in cushioning the impact of the so-far operations of companies. These measures, Bytyqi added, will be additional stimulus for the overall economy to exit the current state-of-play.