Ohrid, the tourist city being abandoned by young people

Ohrid, the tourist city being abandoned by young people

IBNA Special Report

Ohrid, October 6, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Naser Pajaziti

In spite of being the most prominent tourist location in FYR Macedonia, Ohrid remains one of the poorest cities lacking perspective for many young people. A large number of residents abandon this city, near the Ohrid Lake, every year due to the lack of perspective.

The majority of them are young people and statistics are worrying. According to the data of the State Authority of Statistics, every year, the city is abandoned by one thousand residents and in the past three years, there have been different numbers of people who decide to abandon the city.

In 2013, there were over 800 people who abandoned the city to go abroad. In 2012, this number was 1296 and in 2011, 1100 residents. These are the official figures, but unofficial figures are even more alarming.

NGOs and different youth organizations say that this commune lacks organization and opening of new jobs along with other activities to prevent this exodus.

The head of the Youth Committee of Ohrid, Dimce Kanevce says that Ohrid is seen as a city without perspective by the youth, which is not finding work and has nothing to do in order to have a secure future.

“Local government authorities must focus on this tourist center, in order to prevent the large number of young people who abandon the country due to the lack of work, integration in different economic-social projects and other activities. The authorities are not showing an efficient organization in order to create new jobs for the people”, said Kanevce.

But, the commune of Ohrid says that it’s doing maximum efforts in order to engage and employ young people in different projects. Current authorities of the commune blame the former leadership of this commune, which in the past eight years has impoverished the city and has not implemented developing and tourist projects.

Nikola Bakarcevski, mayor of Ohrid, who won the elections last year, says that he’s working to improve the life of the citizens, by thinking about young people. “We’re aiming to change the city, by creating a positive image, new jobs, different activities for the involvement of youth and the increase of foreign investments”, says Bakarcevski.

Besides restaurants and hotels, where the young people of the city work and secure a salary of 200-400 Euros a month, this city is lacking other business activities and foreign investments.

But, recently, a German company called ODV Elektrik has arrived, specializing in the production of electric appliances, which will employ around one thousand people. But, even this company will pay average wages paid in the country.

The government of FYROM says that every commune, including Ohrid, is realizing projects to self employ young people and support initial projects. Muhamet Hoxha, spokesman of the government, told IBNA that there are tens of young people in Ohrid who have applied in job centers for the realization of their initial projects and their self employment through these projects. “The government has allocated extra funds even this year for the self employment project, where young people benefit 3 thousand Euros from the state in the form of subsidies, in order to open a new business. This project obliges them to regulate their work relations within three years”, said Hoxha.

Nevertheless, young people from Skopje say that this stimulus is not sufficient, due to the lack of perspective, competition and extreme poverty.

Ismail. S, a student from Ohrid told IBNA that there’s no perspective in this city and that jobs are missing. According to him, Ohrid can only offer a job during the summer, while the rest of the year is dead. “What can we do when there’s no work for nine months? The summer season goes with a minimum wage of 200 to 300 Euros a month. What are we supposed to do the rest of the year? We’re not even able to survive for ourselves, let alone supporting the family”, says Ismail S. There are many other young people who abandon the country and who do not want to go through this situation.

Based on the 2002 Census, Ohrid counts 42.033 residents. But, this number is said to have dropped during the last decade due to the failure to hold the latest census in 2011-2012. This city is the main tourist point and it’s also under UNESCO patronage. /ibna/