Crediting by banks has to remain to be the main source of financing the companies. Although more and more credits are extended from month to month, there is still increasing need therefore and price much higher than the optimal one.
Such assessment was presented today by Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Zoran Stavreski at the conference “Financing companies in crisis period and how to provide financial resources and liquidity", being organized by the European Business Association and Konrad Adenauer Foundation.
As a result of the global economic crisis, as Stavreski pointed out, companies obtained less funds through bank credits and turned to financing from own sources, i.e. they provided between 55 and 80 percents of the funds in such manner, and only 15 percents from the banks.
In conditions of reduced credit activity, as Stavreski said, Macedonia, as many other countries, reacted by providing favourable credit lines from international financial organizations and strengthening the financial state institutions, such as Macedonian Bank for Development Promotion, through which EUR 100 million from the European Investment Bank were extended for financing small- and medium-sized enterprises. 46 percents, out of that credit line were used.
– In our country, prior to the crisis, level of credit activity was somewhat lower compared to the neighbouring countries, however, such level is little bit higher now. As of April inclusive, credit activity of banks increased by around 8 percents, meaning that, taking into account the zero-percent growth last year in December, credit activity is still experiencing growth, which we expect to reach 10 to 12 percents by the end of the year. It would be a solid rate given the circumstances we are facing, Stavreski said.
He also pointed out the significance of the measure aimed at increasing the amount of savings deposits guaranteed up to EUR 30,000, which should contribute to strengthening the confidence in the Macedonian banking sector.
Saving in banks accounts for 14 percents, i.e. it is higher than the credit activity rate, meaning that banks have additional potential which they can employ, Vice Prime Minister said. We also expect for the effects from the additional measure, by which companies were exempt from profit tax to continue, Vice Prime Minister pointed out. In 2009, compared to 2008, foregone budget revenues from the non-taxed profit amounted to EUR 70 million, however, these funds remained within the companies. – This measure should be helpful in future as well, still crediting by banks has to and will remain the main source of financing, Stavreski said.
According to the President of the Chamber of Commerce of Macedonia Branko Azeski, real sector is short of money, and only developed dialogue between the business community and the authorities can lead to solution of such situation. – It is not only a matter of crisis. We have experienced very long unfavourable period, and the economic crisis only brought the unfavourable developments to the surface. We have no export alternatives, cooperation with the neighbouring countries is weak due to the bad infrastructure. Situation is bad, and real sector is short of money, Azeski said.
Companies, as Azeski stated, continue requiring vertical measures, rather than the horizontal assistance concept alone. Capital budget investments, according to their demands, should be used to the highest level and the Budget should be restructured. We have to, Stavreski said, find a European solution for mutual settlement of debts between the private and the public sector, Azeski said.
Former Governor Ljube Trpeski sees the change of the monetary strategy as one of the solutions to the current situation, as regards easier access to funds by the companies.
– Once the monetary strategy of pegging the exchange rate yields results, i.e. reducing inflation to low level, it should be later changed since if it is applied on the long run, it yields and suffocates the liquidity. Unfortunately, there is no readiness to change such strategy, Trpeski said.
According to former Vice Governor Tome Nenovski, although the conditions in the economy are bad at the moment, they could be even worse, and Macedonia is exiting the crisis with less negative consequences than the other countries.
Banks, as Nenovski pointed out, behave attentively in general since they have aversion to risk due to the crisis.(MIA)