Washington, 23rd April 2010 (MIA) –Macedonia expects benefit from the economic progress achieved in the past several years, being also recognized by international institutions, not only in the field of politics, but also in terms of attracting foreign investors, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Zoran Stavreski said in Washington.


He, as MIA reporter from Washington said, presented the business climate and business conditions Macedonia offers in front of many American businessmen in the Heritage Foundation Headquarters.


– We expect economic benefit from the achieved progress, however, no one can say when this will happen, whether tomorrow, in a year or in two years since it does not only depends on the efforts of the Government and Macedonia in general, but also on investors themselves. Unfortunately, the global crisis is not the best surrounding for reaching decisions on expanding the business in another country. However, it is important for us to remain committed, demonstrate seriousness and accountability before investors so that we are ready to accept them when they decide to invest, Stavreski said.


According to him, positive comments and ranking of Macedonia by the World Bank, the Transparency International and the Heritage Foundation to a higher and better position each year, brings benefit in a political point of view.


– The world, the politicians and the statesmen hear positive things about Macedonia. It is good for the country that it is well-spoken of. It is what we need in the entire process and the efforts we make for EU and NATO integration, the Minister pointed out.


Simplifying the administrative procedures for the private, reducing the regulations, fees and tariffs, decreasing the costs and shortening the time period for starting new businesses were only some of the reforms, Stavreski pointed out in the presentation. One of Government’s priority, as he said, is providing support for small- and medium-sized enterprises.


– We provided credit through the European Investment Bank under significantly favourable conditions, limiting the interest rate to 6 %, which I believe will rose interest at small- and medium-sized companies and lead to fast utilization of the remaining funds under this credit line. Afterwards, we will be able to provide new ones. At the same time, we are reducing the administrative costs for obtaining various permits and licenses, Stavreski said.


Referring to the financial crisis in Greece, Vice Prime Minister assessed that there is a risk of disrupting trade between the two countries if the measures of the Greek Government cause social unrests or possible strikes, particularly of customs officials, however, Greek investors are not expected to leave Macedonia.


– Thus, there may be certain disruption of cooperation between Macedonian and Greek companies. As regards investments, mainly in the financial sector, I expect no problems since, in line with the financial regulations in Macedonia, banks’ operations are strictly monitored and bank’s capital adequacy is quite solid, Stavreski said.


Prior to Stavreski’s presentation, Terry Miller, Heritage Foundation Director, presented Macedonia as a country with stable economy and low inflation rate, a “super star” regarding reforms and free economy.


– Macedonia has confirmed its excellent position in the past several years, significantly increasing the index of free economy and showing greatest progress at global level. It strides towards the European average, Miller said.


On Saturday, within the Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the IMF, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Stavreski will meet high officials from these two international financial institutions.(MIA)


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