Skopje, 21 May 2020 (MIA) – The government took everyone into consideration when creating the stimulus package, Finance Minister Nina Angelovska told a press conference Thursday alongside Economy Minister Kreshnik Bekteshi where they presented more details about the second pillar of the third package of measures, adopted last week, to cushion the crisis’ blow on the economy.
Minister Angelovska said the coronavirus crisis, in addition to raising issues and risks, also opens possibilities for structural changes and the creation of a new and improved system to function.
According to her, the measures are designed as part of a long-term vision for a digitized society and for a transformation into a modern and developing Macedonian economy, which would be stronger and more competitive post-COVID-19.
“All measures are created with clear goals and effects that they are expected to produce in the short- and medium-term. The government when creating the measures took everyone into consideration – the unemployed, low income workers, socially vulnerable groups, the youth and the ones on the front lines of the fight – health workers, the private sector, affected sectors, local companies, the tourism industry, small companies, startups, large companies, the industry, the IT sector, agriculture, etc,” Angelovska said.
The second pillar of measures, she added, aims to maintain liquidity and protect jobs in the short term and also to support development and competitiveness of the companies in the aftermath of the crisis.
The measures support investments, facilitated access to capital, finding of new markets, focus on exporting, digitization, modernization, new products and inclusion of targeted categories, such as female entrepreneurs and young people.
“The first measure of this pillar includes interest-free loans for micro and small companies in amount of EUR 31 million. This line also offers 30% grant, provided by the EU, for companies managed or founded by women or employing young people, export-oriented companies or those that are promoting innovation and digitization,” Angelovska said.
The second measure, the Minister added, involves the development of a state-guaranteed scheme for commercial loans, offering access to capital, maintaining liquidity, investments and it is used around the world for the recovery period.
Additional EUR 25 million is secured for the private sector to help companies penetrate new markets, increase their competitiveness and modernize, she said.
“Already including EUR 150 million, EUR 50 million was included in the government programme under the budget’s revision. The programme funds the salary support scheme – over 18,000 companies and more than 120,000 workers received 1.7 billion denars. This programme will also fund the payment card to support consumers to buy domestic products and services,” Minister Angelovska said, adding the programme will be implemented June through December.
Furthermore, EUR 1.6 million is envisaged for the business services development programme. EUR 3.3 million are projected for fast adjusting companies through the Fund for Innovations and Technology Development.
Another measure includes co-financing of events and conference with the state covering 50% of the costs up to 30,000 denars (EUR 500).
The objective of this measure is to help hotels and accommodating facilities in the country, according to Economy Minister Bekteshi.
Speaking at the press conference, he focused on the financial support for the hospitality sector and tourism – one of the hardest-hit sectors by the crisis.
“The three stimulus packages were adopted swiftly and on time. We reacted on time to help the companies and the citizens and to protect jobs,” Bekteshi said, noting that the first and second package were estimated at EUR 200-250.
The third package, he said, is EUR 355 million for 730,000 beneficiaries. The total amount is nearly EUR 550 million, i.e. 5-5.5% of GDP.
“I call on the citizens to use the measures the government is offering in order to protect domestic production, together to help tourism and the hospitality sector and the crisis-hit companies in general,” Bekteshi concluded.