Board of Directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) approved Macedonia loan in the amount of EUR 107 million for construction of Demir Kapija-Smokvica highway section along Corridor 10, 28.2 km long, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Zoran Stavreski announced at today’s press conference held in the Government building in the presence of Ministers in charge of economic issues.

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EBRD loan, Stavreski pointed out, contributes to completing the financial plan in the amount of EUR 270 million, for construction of Demir Kapija – Smokvica highway section, being the only highway section on Corridor 10 passing through Macedonia. Previously, EUR 130 million were provided by the European Investment Bank in the form of credit, EU provided 45 million as grant, while Macedonia provided EUR 6 million.

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EBRD, as Stavreski said, grants the loan under exceptionally favourable conditions, i.e. 15 –year repayment period, including 3-year grace period and variable interest rate, amounting to 2.59% at the moment.
According to Vice Prime Minister Stavreski, EUR 90 million out of the EUR 107 million, are intended for construction of new modern highway section, while EUR 17 million will be used for introducing electronic road-toll collection system at the existing road toll stations and construction and equipping of four new road toll stations on Corridor 10.

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When asked why the highway construction is not funded from the Budget but rather by borrowing, Stavreski said that the Government undertakes construction activities in many segments and it strives to use all available funds and favourable credit lines, as soon as possible to the end of improving the situation in the country, by building different facilities. Thereby, he said, we retain the total macroeconomic stable framework, we remain in the zone of low level of indebtedness, low budget deficit, being parameters for sound fiscal and investment policy.

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Minister of Transport and Communications, Mile Janakievski announced tender for selection of companies for construction of the highway at the end of this or at the beginning of next month, and conclusion of consultant agreement and agreement with future contractor at the end of the year. He expects for the construction works to last around five to six years.

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– On 17th March, tender for supervision of construction works amounting to EUR 13 million was announced by the European Commission. We have started incorporating the last remarks by the European Commission as regards the tender documentation. This process is in the final stage and I expect for the tender to be announced this month or at the beginning of May, Janakievski said.

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Asked about the legality of the tender procedure in pre-election period, Vice Prime Minister Stavreski said that the Government is carrying out consultations with the respective institutions as regards this issue, and according to them, all projects related to IPA applications and funds, given that they are previously planned and carried out with the EC delegation, may be realized since they have already been envisaged.

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The highway is 25.6 meters, i.e. it will comprise lanes 3.5 meters in width ineach direction and stop lane on the highway It is envisaged for the new section to include two intersections, at the villages Miravci and Smokvica, two tunnels long around 1, 200 meters, six bridges long between 100 to 500 meters, six underpasses and two overpasses.

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New highway section will be constructed immediately after Demir Kapijka so as to connect with the existing highway, continuing on the right side of Vardar River, passing through in the vicinity of Miravci village, ending in Smokvica village, where it will be connected with the existing highway to Gevgelija.

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Two-way, already existing road will remain intact and will serve as an alternative to the newly constructed highway, where toll is npt collected. Projected speed is planned to be 110 kilometers per hour.

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During the design process, Janakievski claims that all European standards on highway safety are taken into account, and the European standards on environmental protection are included in the main and as-built project. As for safe crossing of animals, around 200 crossings are envisaged, and forestation of 130 hectares is planned as well.

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Vice Prime Minister in charge of Economic Issues, Vladimir Pesevski assessed that the effects form the highway construction will be of great significance for the overall economy. This, as he said, will be evident in the construction sector, where increased volume of work for the construction companies is expected, but even more in the trading, given that 70% of the value of import in and export form Macedonia is carried out along Corridor 10.

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– Completion of the Corridor will contribute to reducing traveling time for the transport companies from Macedonia, as well as of those transiting through Macedonia, thus reducing the costs for transportation through this Corridor, Pesevski said, adding that completion of Corridor 10 will be of great significance in future since time of transportation of goods from the Far East to West Europe will be reduced in average by two weeks.

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According to Pesevski, this will also encourage the companies, engaged in field of logistics, sector the Government plans to stimulate in future. (MIA)

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