Skopje, 10th July 2012 (MIA) – Cheap credits the Government provided through EUR 100 million credit line from the European Investment Bank are available to the Macedonian companies as of today. Agreements with EIB were signed with Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Zoran Stavreski, and MBDP CEO, Dragan Martinovski.
Companies will receive the funds under exceptionally favourable, subsidized interest rate of 5.5% and 8-year repayment period, with 2-year grace period. Funds will be made available through the Macedonian Bank for Development Promotion, and companies can submit applications at nine commercial banks – Stopanska Banka Skopje, NLB Tutunska Banka, Komercijalna Banka, Ohridska Banka, Sparkasse bank, Stopanska Banka Bitola, ProCredit Banka, TTK Banka and Halkbank.
Vice Prime Minister Stavreski, pointing out that the project is continuation of the successful realization of the first two credit lines, also made available through the Macedonian Bank for Development Promotion, said that purpose of this third stage of the project is to continue the support to the private sector by the Government through additional financing so as to increase liquidity in the economy and the export.
He expects for these funds, if conditions in Europe stabilize and orders for domestic companies increase, to be used by the companies not only for day-to-day liquidity, but also for investments and job creation.
Previous two credit lines in the amount of EUR 150 million were used to support 712 projects for SMEs, which created 3,150 new jobs. According to the Minister, it is important that production and export-oriented companies were supported, meaning that EIB funds contributed to stimulating domestic production and export.
– Overall support the Government provided with this project, the additional EUR 100 million and the previous EUR 150 million, during this crisis period, during the past 3-4 years, for the Macedonian economy amounts to EUR 250 million, funds never previously provided in such a large amount as support by the Government to the economy, Minister Stavreski said.
According to Dominique Courbin, EIB Head of Division, Adriatic Sea Department, the credit line, together with the previous two credit lines, stresses the specific decisiveness of the Government to support investments of SMEs even in conditions of financial and economic crisis to the end of preserving economic growth of the country.
Pointing out that previous credit line was used in four months, Corubin expressed hope that these funds will be rapidly used.
MBDP CEO, Dragan Martinovski, underlining that 70% of the credit line are intended for SMEs and 30% for the large companies, said that the credit line is of significance for the overall economy in Macedonia.
Pointing out that final beneficiaries will be available the funds under favourable conditions, with 5.5% interest, he said that this credit line, like the previous two, will have positive effects.
SMEs can use the funds for operating assets and for investments, large companies can apply for projects in the field of environmental protection, entrepreneurship and innovation, energy, infrastructure, industry and other services.
Credits in the amount of EUR 10,000 to EUR 3.5 million will be extended with 8-year repayment period and 2-year grace period, while credits in the amount of EUR 5,000 to EUR 667,000 will be extended with up to 3-year repayment period and 6-month grace period.
Funds provided to help companies manage the crisis as a result of the developments in the Eurozone are part of the last package of measures of the Government.
When asked, Minister Stavreski stressed that ensuring favourable credit lines from EIB for direct support to companies and increasing the amount of capital investments in the Budget, amounting to EUR 350 million in 2012, are the measures the Government has been implementing since 2009 to cope with the European crisis. – The best Macedonia, as a small country, could make to stimulate growth is to provide credits under favourable conditions and to intensify capital investments, Stavreski said.
As for the issuance of treasury bills, he said that wherever the Government issues treasury bills, these funds are returned to the economy. – Government does not sterilize these funds. Government either returns them to the banks or settles liabilities by which funds are again returned to the economy, the Minister said.
As regards recent statistical data on trade deficit, Stavreski said that such deficit is a 20-year situation in Macedonia, not being a result of the measures of the present Government, but rather a result of the structure of the Macedonian economy and while under control, it can be financed predominantly with FDIs, thus it should not be any particular problem.
– What can mitigate the trade deficit is to change the structure of the Macedonian economy, aimed at production of products with higher value added, such the ones of “Johnson Metty” and “Johnson Controls”. I believe that by investments we attract and by including Macedonian companies as suppliers to these foreign investors we will manage, in a period of time shorter than the usual one, to change the structure of the Macedonian economy. However, we should be objective, it is a medium-term goal, it is not something to be changes in a year or two, Minister Stavreski said.