IBNA Special Report
Skopje, October 28, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Naser Pajaziti
The ratification of the 2015 budget is a challenge for the country, because it’s yet to be seen how the country will cope next year as the budget will decide economic and social trends in FYROM.
According to the government, the 2.6 billion Euro projected budget, or 5% higher than this year’s budget, meets all the needs and addresses all important projects in the economy, development and society.
But, the opposition says that this budget is not real and not sustainable and that constant crises will take place which will lead the government to ask for more debts from international financial institutions.
“This budget is over inflated and it will be difficult to be realized, because the economy is not performing well and the poor citizens are hardly able to fill the treasury. This budget means that we will take new debts and that the citizens will be the last beneficiaries”, said the MP from the Macedonian Social Democratic League (LSDM), Marjanco Nikolov.
According to him, this budget will end up like all other budgets, where the government will try to find a way out by rebalancing the budget or making cuts in different domains. LSDM says that with this budget, the government is projecting another high deficit of 3.5%.
There’s also been criticism about expenses on government campaigns, such as government publicity, construction of new ministries and other buildings for the administration, “Skopje 2014” project and other projects which are little beneficial for the daily life of the citizens.
But, the minister of Finance, Zoran Stavrevski, as one of the main masterminds of the budget, has rejected opposition accusations by stressing that the 2015 budget will support economy and the standard of the citizens by allocating funds for capital investments, increase of salaries, pensions and social allowance.
“This budget is optimal, given the current economic situation. Budget revenues have been carefully projected, based on low taxes. This is very important, because this way, we offer strong support to the economy, business, competition in order for the country to be more attractive for foreign investors”, declared Stavrevski.
Some economy experts say that 2015 budget doesn’t offer economic growth, development of the economy or improvement of the life of the citizens next year.
“Last year too, the government planned capital projects, budget revenues from investments or other ways, but this didn’t happen. This trend will continue during 2015 and the same thing will occur. The 2015 budget doesn’t address social and economic problem”, says the economy expert, Bilall Kasami.
Citizens believe that the 2015 budget doesn’t contribute about their economic and social welfare. Luan K, a businessman, says for IBNA that the budget doesn’t stimulate the economy and that this is a government campaign filled with lies.
“Fines have increased along with inspections on companies and purchasing power for the citizens is constantly falling. How will we, businesses, survive in these conditions, when stimulation from the state is missing”, says the businessman from Skopje.
Mite S, who lives on social welfare, says that the state must focus more on offering more care to the citizens. “How can a family of four members live on 40 Euro allowance a month, when we all know what the monthly living expenses are, including power supply and other charges. There must be projects and plans to help poor social categories, which amounts to 35% of the population”, says Mite S.
Besides this, the budget has also sparked ethnic debates, as the Albanian party in opposition, PDSH (Albanian Democratic Party) has declared that the budget is discriminating for Albanians, as it doesn’t support infrastructural projects and other projects in the areas where they live. /ibna/