Skopje, 5 May 2020 (MIA) – A total of 12,380 requests for financial assistance by companies to pay their workers minimum wage (Mden 14,500) in April and May have been submitted to the Public Revenue Office since May 1. This is an encouraging number as there are three more days until the application deadline, Fatmir Bytyqi, Adviser to the Prime Minister, told a news conference Tuesday.
He called on companies that still haven’t applied to submit applications by May 7, via the e-tax system.
The decree on financial support to employers adopted by the government, Bytyqi underlined, allows companies to re-hire the workers they fired between March 11 and April 30.
This measure, will help workers who were fired due to the coronacrisis, to regain their jobs.
“About 2,000 worker were fired in March and another 7,000 in April,” Bytyqi said.
He underlined that 631 zero-interest loan applications have been approved so far through the ‘Covid 1’ credit line, of which 76% are for micro-businesses with up to 10 employees, 22% are for small-businesses with up to 50 employees and 1% is for medium-businesses with up to 250 employees.
Bytyqi added that 1,260 applications have been submitted for the ‘Covid 2’ credit line thus far and called on companies that still haven’t applied to submit applications by May 12.
Commercial banks, Bytyqi added, are set to distribute soon EUR 51 million in favorable loans.
“North Macedonia’s economic policies have been successful in the past three years, as proven by World Bank estimates, which project that North Macedonia will handle the economic effects of the coronacrisis better than the rest of the region,” Bytyqi added.
Regarding measures taken by the government to help the economy, he underlined that companies got until April 2020 EUR 145 million in VAT return, which is a 16.7% increase compared to 2019. In April alone, companies received EUR 38 million, i.e. 23% more in VAT return than in April 2019.
Compared to 2018, VAT return for January and April is increased 19.4%. There is a 67.6% increase compared to the same period in 2017.
In line with the social protection decree, Bytyqi told the news conference, 970 new applications have been submitted for guaranteed minimum aid at social work centers since April 3.
“We’re negotiating with the World Bank a EUR 90 million project, aimed at mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 crisis by strengthening the healthcare system and assisting coronacrisis-hit households,” Bytyqi said.