Skopje, 26th September 2012 (MIA) – Macedonian pensioners are satisfied with the Government decision to increase the pensions, a decision officially being announced today at the meeting with Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, Vice Prime Minister Zoran Stavreski and Minister of Labour and Social Policy Spiro Ristovski.


They believe that, in such manner, their economic problems, which, as they say, are inevitable in conditions of financial crisis, will be mitigated. We are aware that this measure means a lot, as the President of the Federation of Associations of Pensioners, Dragi Argirovski, said, especially in conditions when pensions are reduced in many countries and pension indexation to CPI is abolished.


– We are especially satisfied with the decision of the Government to increase pensions, i.e. in addition to the regular indexation of 2%, pensions will be increased by 5%, thus pensions will be increased by 7%. This will certainly be welcomed by all pensioners, since we are all aware of the economic crisis in Europe, indexation is abolished in many countries, pensions are reduced in some countries, while we receive the pensions on regular basis in the first week of the month. Such increase will in a way contribute to mitigating the poverty each crisis brings to the economy, Argirovski said.


As for Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Zoran Stavreski, the increase of pensions was a fulfillment of the promise and a proof that this Government was constantly taking care of the pensioners and improving their standard.


– The increase will be 5% and it is included in the 2013 Budget projections. Despite the difficult conditions European and Macedonian economies face, and the numerous challenges, we have promised this to the pensioners and we hold on to that promise. In addition to the 5%, there will be pension indexation as well, which, depending on the trends in the costs of living and the salaries, will be around 2% next year, being a cumulative increase of around 7%, Stavreski said.


He pointed out that the Government would continue keeping the promise for the pensions to be paid in the first week of the month.


– It is very important that pensioners are paid the pensions in the first week of the month. We all know pensions are not always enough, but it is important for the people to know that they will receive them on time so they can plan their budget. Pensioners are aware that, with this Government, they have received their pensions in the first week of the months so far. Despite all problems and temptations, pensions are our priority and this is how they will be paid in future as well, Stavreski said.


Vice Prime Minister also reiterated several other measures the Government implements to support the standard of pensioners, such as the recently announced measure for free public transportation on Saturdays, reduction of prices of pharmaceuticals, as well as all pensioners with pensions lower than the average one to be able to have free treatment at the hospitals throughout the country starting next year.


– If one takes into account all these measures, one can see that the Government takes special care of the elderly persons and those who during their employment have deserved to have less worries now and to use their pensions in the best way possible, Vice Prime Minister Stavreski said.


According to him, there was nothing unusual in frequent meetings and discussions with the pensioners.


– Meetings with pensioners are the same as the meetings with the farmers, the businessmen, … This is the way the Government works and makes it different from the previous governments. We remain constantly open to discussions both when we can bring them good news and when we are to ask them how to act, to give us an advice, as well as always when something is difficult and we cannot realize it, we have to talk to people, explain them so as to know how to act. That is the way we work, Vice Prime Minister Stavreski said.


He added that they also receive advices from the pensioners, and they share certain opinions with the pensioners on how to implement certain measures.


– For instance, we discussed about the last measure to increase the pensions and we will discuss about how to implement it, whether to use the 5% approach for all pensioners or the distribution of funds to be in an absolute amount. It will depend on the discussions, we remain open to discussions with the pensioners and other groups, Vice Prime Minister Stavreski said.


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