18th April 2020, Skopje – Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy, Trajan Dimkovski, Minister of Finance, Nina Angelovska, together with the Director of the Agency for Financial Support in Agriculture and Rural Development, Nikolce Babovski held a press conference today, being related to the payment of tobacco subsidies under the 2019 harvest.

Today, the Agency for Financial Support in Agriculture and Rural Development paid, on the accounts of 19,050 tobacco manufacturers, more than EUR 30 million as subsidies for produced and delivered tobacco to the registered purchase tobacco companies with respect to the 2019 harvest. Due to the state of emergency caused by COVID-19 and for the sake of making contribution to the public health protection, the Agency, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, as well as the National Bank prepared appropriate model on the manner of raising money, all to the end of avoiding additional crowds in all branch offices of the banks in the Republic of North Macedonia.

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy, Trajan Dimkovski said that the subsidies have already been paid to the accounts of the users, thereby urging the tobacco manufacturers to adhere to the manner of raising the money.

“Funds from the tobacco subsidies will be raised for a period of four consecutive days starting from 21st April Tuesday as of 24th April Friday, inclusive. As for each of these four days, a payment schedule has been made according to the alphabetical order of the surnames of the natural persons, the tobacco manufacturers and the legal entities. Those tobacco growers who want to withdraw cash from an ATM, will be able to do so on Monday from 16 until 23 o’clock, for which the Ministry of Internal Affairs, will have a list according to the alphabetical order,” Dimkovski said.

Users will also have the opportunity to withdraw cash from ATMs from Tuesday until Friday by 6 PM, despite the curfew, in agreement with the representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, who will have the respective lists therewith.

The Director of the Agency for Financial Support in Agriculture and Rural Development, Nikolce Babovski said that the funds from the subsidies will be raised at the bank counters, by alphabetical order.

“All users of financial support related to tobacco, not having payment cards and whose surnames start with the letters: A, B, C, D and E, will be able to raise the funds at the bank counters on 21st April, Tuesday. On 22nd April (Wednesday) tobacco subsidies are to be paid for applicants, the surnames of whom start with the letters: F, G, H, I, J, K, L and M. On 23rd April (Thursday), tobacco subsidies will be paid to the applicants, whose surnames start with the letters: N, O, P, Q, R, S, T and U. On Friday, funds will be paid to the users, whose surname start with the letters: V, W, X, Y and Z” – the Director of the Agency for Financial Support in Agriculture and Rural Development, Nikolce Babovski said.

Minister of Finance Angelovska pointed out that the funds have been already deposited on the users’ accounts. She underlined that in order to disperse the risk and the crowds, the banks in the cities, where most of the users of tobacco subsidies are located, will work with extended time, i.e. from 8 Am until 5 PM. Thus, all branch offices of NLB Banka in the cities of Prilep, Bitola, Radovish, Veles, Strumica, Kocani, Kavadarci and Negotino will work those days until 17:00 o’clock. At the same time, the bank will not charge a commission for withdrawing funds through ATMs of other banks. The branch offices of Stopanska Banka will be open until 5 PM in Prilep, Bitola, Radovish and Strumica.

“I would like to hereby underline that, even in regular, and especially under these conditions, card payment is much safer than payment with banknotes. Remind yourself that the banknotes went through hundreds, thousands of hands, while your payment card in only handled by you. I would like to also stress that we have already undertaken the preparatory activities with the National Bank and the banks for the purpose of paying the pensions, covering 20 times more citizens than when paying subsidies to tobacco growers. This higher payment is planned for the last week of April, which will also be systematized and dispersed, in order to protect the health of the citizens, “Angelovska said.

Tobacco is our strategically export-oriented branch, recording stable and sustainable manufacture during the past two and a half years. This has been a result of the Government’s policies aimed at this branch, primarily because of the new model for higher tobacco subsidies, according to which the subsidy amounts to Denar 80 per kilogram for the first class, Denar 70 for the second class and Denar 60 per kilogram for the additional classes.

This Government has shown what it really means to care for the entire agricultural sector, through every measure undertaken in the interest of farmers. The Government will continue to create a favorable climate and conditions for the development of the agricultural sector.

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