IBNA Special Report
Skopje, September 5, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Naser Pajaziti
Government authorities in FYR Macedonia say that the country is a leader in Western Balkan as far as capital infrastructural projects are concerned.
According to government estimates, the investment for the construction of the infrastructural network and the completion of the main roads of Corridor 8 and 10, exceeds the 1 billion Euro figure.
“Infrastructure is one of the main factors for the economic development of a country, therefore investments in new highways and the repair of other road segments is important, especially at a time when the country is on the focus of foreign investments”, said the deputy prime minister for economic affairs, Vladimir Pesevski.
This year, the government has planned the construction of another 123 km of highway and the image of the roads in the country will change. Experts of economic issues say that infrastructural investments have long term positive effects.
“The effects are positive. Such investments should have been made a few years ago, when Macedonia faced the effects of the global economic crisis. The fact is that all investments in infrastructure bring long term positive effects”, says university economics professor, Shenaj HAxhimustafa.
Investments in highways
Even with the new reviewed budget, the government has planned on allocating extra funds for infrastructural investments. 200 million Euros were allocated for the continuation of the highway, which is part of Corridor 10. This project will be completed in 2016.
But, besides this project, two other highways are being built, such as the one linking Kercova to Ohrid and the one linking Skopje to Stip.
The project of the highway from Ohrid to Kercova includes a modern 56,7 km long highway, which has started to be built by the Chinese company, “Sajnohidro Corporation Lmt”, with a cost of 375 million Euros. Meanwhile, the other highway, linking Skopje to Stip is 47 kilometers long and is an investment of 206 million Euros. The works will be carried out by the same Chinese company.
The government in Skopje secured the funds for these two projects through a loan issued by “China Exim Bank”, with a maturity of 20 years and an interest rate of 2%.
Agency of Roads has announced that in 2014 and 2015, 200 km of local roads will be built with a fund of 20 million Euros. But, there’s also a future project to build 20 km of highway going toward the border crossing point of Han i Elezit, as the Kosovar authorities have started the construction of the highway linking Pristina to Skopje.
Return to the railway sector
In its projections, the government has also planned investments in the railway sector, which has been left on the side for years.
Spokesman of the government, Muhamet Hoxha told IBNA that the government is planning make railways undergo a process of restructuring, a modernization and also reconstruct parks and warehouses along with buying new trains.
In the month of March, the government has planned on reconstructing the railway segment between Kumanovo and Belakovc, 31 km long, in the eastern part of Corridor 8. This is the only segment built out of the three segments planned which link the country with Bulgaria. “We have started to implement the idea for railroad connection between Macedonia and Bulgaria and as a start, we will repair the railway line from Kumanovo to Belakovc with a cost of 39,7 million Euros, secured through a loan issued by EBRD. The works will be carried out by German company ‘Vibe’”, said Hoxha.
The contract for the construction of the railway linking Manastir with Kremenica is also soon expected to be signed.
The government has also planned to reconstruct the central railway station in Skopje. The project will be assisted by EU funds. The total amount is 2,5 million Euros, out of which, 85% belong to IPA funds, while 15% will be allocated by the state.
IPA funds will also help the reconstruction of 10 railway stations alongside Corridor 10. /ibna/