Migrant workers are keeping FYROM’s economy on its feet

Migrant workers are keeping FYROM’s economy on its feet

IBNA Special Report

Skopje, October 30, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Naser Pajaziti

Macedonian Diaspora which consists of Macedonians and Albanians continues to play a key role for the economy of this country. Every year, migrant workers send to the home country 1 billion Euros, but most of the money is spent on monthly household expenses and very little is spent on investments.

Government of FYROM has undertaken several projects encourage migrants into investing in the homeland, because they are seen as a factor of development for the national economy.

Diaspora’s investments have sparked debates in the country, among MPs, ministers, business people and other personalities.

Antonio Milosovski, former foreign minister and current head of the foreign affairs parliamentary committee, says that the Diaspora has great economic and cultural potential in order to promote the capacities of the country throughout the world. According to him, the Diaspora also acts as a factor of stability in the state’s financial policies.

“There are many elements which make the Diaspora an important factor in the economy of our country. Even in times of crisis, remittances from the Diaspora amounted to 1 billion Euros, which helped in paying for the deficit. On the other hand, many households rely on their relatives abroad as a source of existence”, said Milosovski.

According to the statistics of the Macedonian Popular Bank, 70% of migrants’ money is used for household expenses and the purchase of homes.

A strategy must be put in place in order for this money to serve not only for daily expenses, but to be invested in small and medium sized businesses and create new jobs.

Governor of the Macedonian Popular Bank, Dimitar Bogov says that the Diaspora has an impact in financial policies and reduction of budget deficit. “The number of our migrant workers is seeing a growth and the current figure is 17% of the population. This is an important percentage and we must exploit this as a resource and capital for the development of our country”, said Bogov.

Minister for Investments, Vele Samak said that he belongs to the Diaspora and that years ago, he decided to return to the country. “In the recent years, we have brought the Diaspora closer to the fatherland, but more must be done. In the Diaspora, we have strong financial and human resources and more work must be done in this direction to attract them into the country, both in the development and investment aspect”, said Samak.

Shefki Idrizi of “Renova” company, who was taken as an example of an investor who has returned into the country, called on the authorities to engage in order to reduce bureaucratic procedures, as according to him, many investors are backing off due to the long procedures of obtaining the necessary documents of doing business.

“In all communes of Macedonia it’s not easy to obtain a written document, although the law guarantees simple procedures. Our job must become easier. We live here and we have adapted to this, but those of the Diaspora do not understand it”, declared Idrizi.

These comments were made during the public debate of the Foreign Affairs Committee, which discussed the importance of migrants in the economic and political developments of the country.

Migrant workers contribute for 18-20% of GDP. Through money transfer, funds mainly come from Germany with 24%, Italy with 22%, Austria with 13%, Switzerland with 11%. /ibna/