IBNA Special Report
Skopje, August 20, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Naser Pajaziti
In contrast to other years, migrant workers are sending less money to their country. Data from the National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia indicate that from January to April 2014, 30 million Euros less have entered the country as opposed to the same period of 2013. According to the central bank, this year, migrant workers have sent 380 million Euros.
Through the remittances of migrant workers, the government has covered the budget deficit and all other budget expenses.
Economy experts say that there are two main reasons why migrant workers are sending less money.
Former minister of Finance, Xhevted Hajredini told IBNA that the first reason for this is the discriminatory role of the state against the Albanian and Macedonian Diaspora.
The second reason, according to him, is that in the past five years, Gruevski’s government has often caused cross ethnic tension , discouraging Albanian migrants to invest their capital in their country.
“Many migrants have lost their faith on the state and as a result of frequent cross ethnic episodes, not only they’re not sending money to their families, but they’re doing everything they can to get their families where they live and work. They visit the country only for special family occasions”, says Hajredini.
Head of the Economic Chamber of Northwest Macedonia, Arben Halili says that the fall in remittances first of all relates to the fact that the government shows very low interest in order to best use these funds.
He suggests that the government must use the money sent by migrants, which amount to billions, for investments in different sectors in the country, in opening family businesses which would open more jobs and reduce poverty.
“So far, the government has not done a lot in order to exploit the financial potential of the Diaspora and invest it in Macedonia. The Diaspora is the best opportunity for the government to encourage investments in the country. In this aspect, we as a Chamber, have encouraged Albanian migrants not to spend their capital by sending it to their families, as this would have a very short term effect. We suggest for these remittances to gradually go for the opening of small and medium sized businesses, which would generate new jobs and more incomes for their families in Macedonia”, says Halili.
But, in the conference held in July this year with the Diaspora, prime minister Nikola Gruevski declared that the government maintains strong ties with the Diaspora and that a lot of work is being done in order to improve the business climate and attract investments from the Diaspora. “With the reforms that it has made, the government has offered the necessary conditions for foreign investors and without any doubt, the Diaspora must make planned investments in the country. But, on the other hand, the Diaspora must also act as an intermediary in attracting foreign investors”, declared Gruevski in front of 140 organizations and associations of the Macedonian Diaspora.
Experts of economic affairs underlines that governments so far have never revealed the true figure of the money that migrants send home.
Migrants also have their dilemmas. According to statistics, they do not want to make investments or send money home.
Din Melova, an emigrant that lives in Switzerland told IBNA that in spite of circumstances, he’s very tied to the fatherland, but recently, he has had a dilemma for investing.
“We don’t like the tension that we’re seeing in the country. Everything is politics and corruption and we don’t see any positive perspective. Why must we invest when we don’t feel safe? This is a state which doesn’t offer facilities and welfare for its citizens in the country, let alone the Diaspora. I have planned on opening a small business, but I see insecurity and high risk. But, you never know what happens in the future”, says Din Melova. /ibna/