Skopje, 3rd October 2011 (MIA) – Government remains at GDP growth projection of 3.5%, despite the higher performance of GDP in the first half of the year. This was pointed out by Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Zoran Stavreski, at today’s press conference. He said that this provides for a sound basis to project higher growth for the whole year, adding that the European and the global economy had been facing serious risks in the last 30 and so days, which are to be incorporated in the forecasts, since they will be felt in Macedonia later on.


– GDP in the first half of the year was above the projections. It has created sound basis to project the economic growth for the whole year, which would be higher than the initially projected growth of 3.5%. However, in the meantime, in the last 30 and so days, there have been information as regards the trends in Europe and the world, which are not favourable, raise concerns showing escalating debt crisis in Europe. US economy is also facing serious challenges. All this information have to be incorporated in the projections for the coming period, since it is logical for the consequences from such developments in Europe and the world to be also felt in Macedonia later on. Taking all this into account, new risks in the European and the global economy, we believe that it is most appropriate to be realistic, moderate and not to project higher economic growth than the one initially projected of 3.5%, Minister said, adding that growth will be generated in the private sector, i.e. it will be as high as the private sector, together with the state, will generate as regards capital investments.


According to the Minister, projections in this stage are that growth of 3.5% will be realized, however, each positive and higher percentage would be good performance. Unemployment rate is identical to the one in the first quarter. This is an indicator that, as a result of maintaining positive economic growth rates, Republic of Macedonia is not facing unemployment increase, which was not the case in many European countries and the world.


– In conditions of such risks the global economy is facing, it is a success if unemployment does not increase, since it is obvious that in all these countries, factories are closed, workers are laid off, while we are doing our best to prevent such trends, i.e. we are creating conditions for the Macedonian industry and construction industry to have capital investments and the firms to provide employment in a period when the European economy is facing challenges, Stavreski said. As regards the recent developments in the European economy and the impact on the Macedonian economy, the Minister pointed out that there were no good news and the Government policies would be focused on preserving macroeconomic stability and stability of the banking sector, on one hand, and supporting the construction sector and the related industries through higher capital investments, on the other.


– Macedonia cannot affect the ongoing changes, however, it can, on the basis of its budget and through its own economic policies, strive for supporting its economy within the possibilities, by implementing a policy of higher capital investments. It will be our commitment in future, as so far, to keep a budget with high level of capital investments, which, in the first half of the year, showed to be the way to underpin the construction sector and other 25 industrial branches This is the key of our success, despite the challenges in the Eurozone, to achieve positive performance in the first half of this year, Stavreski said.


With respect to information on the recent data on the government debt, the Minister pointed out that Macedonia, according to all international statistical data, was a country with low to moderate indebtedness as regards both the government debt and the external debt. He explained that, from a quarter to quarter, these categories experienced changes, depending on the trends in the inflow of fresh funds, i.e. conclusion of new arrangements, and the repayment of liabilities.


He went on that most of the changes in the external debt referred to the private sector and the banking sector. With respect to the government debt, as he said, we remained to be a country with low level of indebtedness of 26% of GDP according to the most recent data, being the lowest level of government debt in the region and one of the three lowest in Europe.


As for the preparation of the Budget for the next year, he said that preparation activities were ongoing, budget users submitted their requests and what would follow was to harmonize such requests with the possibilities. It is expected for the draft Budget for the next year to be submitted to the end of this month. As regards “Buy a House, Buy a Flat” Project, Minister said that lot of meetings were held with the banks and that it was not easy to harmonize the interest rate. However, he was satisfied with the way the banks approached the Project.


– The position we shared is that this is important for both the Macedonian economy and the banking sector, since, in a way, this provides for increase of the scope of activities for the economy and the banks, Stavreski pointed out.


According to him, the essence of the new housing credits is that many citizens can be included, since low-income families will be eligible to be extended a credit, and the number of total applications for a housing credit will increase, leading to increased scope of work of the banks. Minister Stavreski expects for more than 10 banks, the largest and the medium ones, to be participate, as well as the smaller banks that meet the requirements.


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