North Macedonia: Economic Chamber believes now is a good time to start talks on the Economy

North Macedonia: Economic Chamber believes now is a good time to start talks on the Economy

The Economic Chamber of North Macedonia believes the amendments in the financial support measures for businesses are good, noting however that amidst such a devastating global crisis it is unrealistic to expect that the economy of North Macedonia will overcome it without any losses. Zoran Jovanovski, Chief Executive Officer of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce for Economic Affairs, notes that measures are needed for large companies that could more easily and quickly get the economy of North Macedonia rolling once everyday life becomes somewhat more normalized.

“The latest changes in the government’s economic measures showcase opportunities for the private sector to better deal with the effects of the economic crisis. It is good that a significant amount of fresh money is being introduced into the economy; opportunities are being created to combine different measures to increase assistance to businesses; opportunities are also being created to turn aid into non-refundable funds and so on. But this is the right time to point out a few things”, Jovanovski said.

“First of all, there are significant reactions to the level of flexibility regarding the number of employees that companies have to maintain in order to benefit from the measures. We all need to understand that no one in the private sector wants to fire employees. Until a few months ago, companies complained that they could not find employees, and they invested heavily on those whom they hired in training them and preparing them to be able to integrate into the production process. Thus, every company that is given the opportunity will seek to keep its employees; to invest in them, in their training, etc.

Therefore, we must not ignore reality. Currently, the entire global economy is in turmoil. In the United States, 30 million people lost their jobs in just six weeks. The World Labor Organization estimates that 12 million people in Europe will lose their jobs by the end of 2020, and we are only talking about full-time workers. In March, car sales in Europe fell by 52%, the biggest monthly drop in history; in April the fall was even steeper. Under these circumstances, in the midst of such a dramatic global crisis, expecting the economy of North Macedonia to overcome it with no casualties is just unrealistic. However, the steps taken in the country’s labor market so far have not been bad. So far, the private sector has been able to absorb the effects of the crisis within its capabilities.

Second, the issue of helping large companies remains open for discussion, focusing on those who can pull the economy of North Macedonia stronger and faster when everyday life somewhat returns to normal. Let’s not forget that giants of enterprise such as Ford, Boeing, Airbus and Lufthansa are turning to the state for help. There are no solutions that work for everyone; different solutions must be applied for different types of companies.

Third, the current economic crisis perfectly demonstrates why it is extremely important for a country to preserve functional dialogue and consensus between social partners, the government, the unions and the employers. As early as 20 March, the Economic Chamber of North Macedonia had pointed out that everyone would be affected by the crisis, more or less, sooner or later, noting that the state would have to save the private sector in the short term, and then the private sector would have to save the country; we all need to bear the burden of the crisis equally. Here we are now, 40 days later, and the whole burden of the crisis has solely fallen on the backs of the private sector and that is a fact. That is why it is important to refresh the economic and social dialogue in the country at the highest level, where the government will be represented by the prime minister, and trade unions and employers’ representatives will also participate. Only in this way can solid and long-term sustainable solutions be designed to ensure a better economic future for the country.

Fourth, it is obvious that economic measures are generous as long as there are available financial resources to support the private sector; broadly speaking, the bigger the mess, the greater the reinforcement. Now is the time to ask why there was such a big mess in the first place, which turned our whole state into a mess for years and decades in the past? And even more important is the question: what can we do to change things after the crisis?

This crisis is a great opportunity for us to tap together on substantially important issues, not only for the economy, but also for other aspects of North Macedonian society. The question remains not how we will overcome the crisis, but what we are to do after it”. Jovanovski concluded. /ibna