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Gov’t presents third set of economic measures worth EUR 355 million

The government unveiled Sunday the third set of economic measures aimed at recovering domestic economy hit from the coronavirus outbreak.

Skopje, 17 May 2020 (MIA) – The government unveiled Sunday the third set of economic measures aimed at recovering domestic economy hit from the coronavirus outbreak.

The set of measures was adopted at Sunday’s session of the government. Its estimated amount stands at EUR 355 million or 5.5% of GDP and is intended to 730,000 beneficiaries, PM Oliver Spasovski said at Sunday’s news conference.

Spasovski said that the set of measures is aimed at recovering economy, stimulating consumption and industry and is direct assistance from the state to citizens and the economy.

He noted that the third set of measures was adopted in consultation with the experts, members of the chambers of commerce and trade unions.

Spasovski explained that the measures are direct financial support to stimulate consumption, reward for physicians and medical staff of infectious disease departments.

The new set of measures will apply to all socially vulnerable groups, the unemployed persons, the health sector employees as well as other categories of citizens.

Under the new set, EUR 16 million are allocated for payment cards for about 100,000 citizens. They will receive a payment card amounting to MKD 9,000 (EUR 150) for buying Macedonian products. All unemployed persons or those who do not receive over MKD 15,000 (EUR 243.7) monthly income or recipients of guaranteed minimum assistance will be able to receive cards.

About 100,000 citizens will receive vouchers for domestic tourism amounting to MKD 6,000 (EUR 100) and a home payment card worth MKD 3,000 (EUR 50). This measure is intended for all employees that receive monthly net salary less than MKD 15,000 (EUR 243.7) and have no other income, he said.

Under the set of measures, Spasovski said that financial support amounting to EUR 12 million is planned for 100,000 young people. They will receive MKD 6,000 (EUR 100) to cover university fees as well as accommodation in dormitories. Vouchers worth MKD 30,000 (EUR 500) are targeted for co-financed skills and knowledge training and IT trainings.

“We are introducing a VAT-free prices during weekend for all citizens aimed at stimulating consumption and revenue growth,” Spasovski said.

Spasovski also said that the third set of measures will also cover people who lost their jobs from March 11 to April 30, by receiving cash compensations.

Micro and small businesses can apply for zero-interest loans offered through Development Bank of North Macedonia. EUR 31 million credit line is intended to support women, young people and business digitalization, offering grants (non-refundable funds) for businesses owned by women or employing young people, and are export-oriented or introduce innovation and digitalization, Spasovski added.

Spasovski said that EUR 125 million will be allocated for export-oriented companies, as well as a guarantee for securing customs debt. While EUR 25 million will be earmarked for the private sector for a new markets, competitiveness and modernization.

EUR 1 million will be allocated to textile companies for introduction of a digital platform for new markets as well as EUR 1.6 million for innovative products and for the transformation of the ethno village in Nerezi into a Macedonian startup village, he added.

Events and conferences will be co-financed by 50 percent or up to MKD 30,000 (EUR 500). For this purpose, EUR 245,000 will be earmarked, he said.

Spasovski also announced financial support for the agricultural sector amounting to EUR 5 million provided through the Development Bank, to support micro, small and medium enterprises.

Healthcare workers in the Clinic for Infectious Diseases, the Institute of Public Health, the Centers for Public Health and members of emergency teams will receive two wage increases of 20 percent, Spasovski said.

The first and second set of economic measures amounted from EUR 200 million to EUR 250 million, or 2% of GDP.

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