• Stavreski: Wolrd Bank supports two infrastructure projects in Macedonia

    Washington, 19 April 2015 (MIA) – The World Bank (WB) supports in principle two projects in Macedonia – the road from Rankovce to Kriva Palanka and then to the border with Bulgaria and gasification in Macedonia, Deputy PM and Finance Minister Zoran Stavreski said after the meetings with WB officials where he attends World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings in Washington.

    At the meetings with the World Bank we have discussed the specific projects that will be in support of economic growth and once again we were assured that there is a progress in preparation of two important projects for this year to be approved. One is in September, it is the road from Rankovce to Kriva Palanka in first phase and the second phase will follow from Kriva Palanka to Bulgarian border. And we expect the Board of the World Bank in September to approve the project, Stavreski said.

    He added that the second project which also was in principle supported by the World Bank and the European Bank is the gasification in the country.

    Once the first part of what we do with clearing debt is completed, gasification to continue and in this way to wrap up entire gasification network in Macedonia with financial support from the World Bank and the IMF, Stavreski pointed out.

    He emphasized that the IMF/WB spring meetings are opportunity for direct meetings with the leaders of the World Bank and IMF, and the opportunity to gain more information on the situation of the European economy.

    Messages that are conveyed this year are that countries should focus on stimulating economic growth through various measures. It can be expected this year oil prices to remain at low level, it can be expected price stability to be maintained, and what should be done in the next period is to see how Macedonia in this circumstances to achieve higher economic growth compared to other countries, i.e. to continue the good trend, which we and WB/IMF officials jointly concluded that is good and that Macedonia has higher economic growth than other countries in the region, Stavreski said.

    He said that this is mainly due to performance of the companies in the free economic zones and outside of zones due to good business climate in the country, as we as support through the budget and capital investments in the form of infrastructure projects that have been realized in the past two years.

    These types of support will continue in the next period because we have announcement for additional investments. All this creates good preconditions Macedonia to resume the economic growth, to resume the unemployment reduction and to have more investments than other countries have, Stavreski said.

    The Governor of the National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia Dimitar Bogov also attends World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings in Washington.

    Our economy is mainly exported to the European economy and from that point of view we do not expect any negative implications, on the contrary some positive effects are possible because our manufacturers will be more competitive in the European market related to producers whose prices are denominated in dollars. Also it is in our favour the reduction of oil price although dollars strengthens, the oil price reduction compensates for strengthening the US currency and so far the effects on our economy are positive, Bogov said.

    He said that at the meetings they exchanged view on risks in the global economy and that Macedonian economy is very good positioned to withstand shocks from any of these risks.

    Deputy PM and Finance Minister Zoran Stavreski and Governor of the National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia Dimitar Bogov held meetings with WB executive director Frank Heemskerk, WB Regional Director for Southeast Europe and Asia Ellen Goldstein, IMF executive director Menno Snel, IMF Head Jesmin Rahman and WB Vice President for Europe and Central Asia and IFC Laura Tuck.

  • Dejanovic says he may lose two fingers, but is glad he flew the Macedonian flag on Annapurna

    Skopje, 3 April 2015 (MIA) – Macedonian Zdravko Dejanovic, who succeeded to conquer the Himalayan Annapurna peak, says he will likely lose two fingers from frostbite, but is happy because he managed to plant the Macedonian flag at one of the tallest and most dangerous peaks in the world.

    “Annapurna is known as one of the deadliest mountains, with only 164 successful ascents. I was the least experienced from all in my expedition, having climbed only two peaks over 8.000 meters – Mount Everest and K2. The climb itself is extremely dangerous, much harder than I expected. Usually these climbs are performed in April or May, but to avoid the danger of avalanches, we chose March. We reached the summit on March 24th, under unbeliveable conditions, 15 hours later than planned. With temperatures at minus 35 degrees Centigrade, our motor skills were badly affected. Only two of us were able to take our cameras out and film our success, and I managed to take the Macedonian flag out. Frostbite will likely cause me to lose two of my fingers, but I’m not complaining”, Dejanovic said at a press conference in the Agency for youth and sports on Friday.

    Dejanovic added that trouble continued to follow the team on the way back, toward their base camp at 6.800 meters. Afraid they will lose their direction, the expedition decided to spend the night on the open, at 7.400 meters.

    “Oxygen was very low, both our brains and muscles were badly affected. We spent the entire night tied to each other, standing up, and jumping in place to prevent freezing. If you close your eyes for one second, you can fall asleep, and it can be the death of you. Only next morning we were able to continue to our base camp”, Dejanovic added.

    Macedonian Mountain climbing federation President Jovica Ugrinovski said the federation did its part to help Dejanovic on his triple expedition, and so did the Agency for youth and sport. He will be awarded with 6.500 EUR for his accomplishment. Dejanovic said he plans to continue with his mountain climbing exploits, but right now needs some time to rest and recover from Annapurna.

  • Macedonian Labour Minister explains new incentives for companies to open jobs

    Skopje, 30 March 2015 (MIA) – At Monday’s forum with employers on better policies of support leading to more jobs in the business sector, the companies that are members of the Macedonian Chambers of Commerce (MCC) had the chance to learn more about ongoing employment measures and policies and about those set to be implemented throughout 2015.

    “The Ministry of Labour and Social Policy in cooperation with the Employment Agency so far has organized 15 forums for employers. Our goal is by the end of the year to visit all the municipalities, present the measures at local level and organize more events in cooperation with the chambers and employers’ organizations, where private companies will be informed about the opportunities offered to hire more jobless persons,” Labour Minister Dime Spasov told reporters before the forum.

    MKD 666 million are envisaged in the 2015 operational plan on active employment measures and policies. Most of the funds are intended to be awarded as subsidies to private companies in order to be encouraged to open new jobs, he said.

    Recently, a measure has been introduced allowing every company that will hire people under the age of 29 to be exempted from paying fees for a year. A new set of measures is also in the works covering several groups of jobless people and socially-vulnerable groups of citizens.

    MCC president Daniela Arsovska said the new measures would push the companies to increase the number of employees and improve their operations.

    She praised the employment measures for being created to “open new jobs, reduce the unemployment rate and the costs of companies.”

    The Employment Agency’s director Vlatko Popovski said the economy was being supported as well as those without a job to find an employment by consistent implementation of the measures. “We hope the economy will be considerably boosted by these measures.”

  • Heavy rains increase danger of new floods in Macedonia

    As forecast, strong rains hit Macedonia on Friday, further worsening the situation in many parts of the country that were flooded during the week. Reinforcements in people and mechanical equipment are sent to the Pelagonija region villages of Mogila and Novaci, which were among the worst affected during the week.

    Novaci, located between Bitola and the important REK Bitola power plant, was given 15 pumps to clear flooded homes. The road between Bitola and Novaci was deliberately flooded on Wednesday, to reduce the danger coming from Crna river to the homes in Novaci and the power plant, that provides most of Macedonia’s electricity.

    EVN utility employees are using a boat to try and repair a relay station and supply the village of Egri with electricity. In some places, waters around Bitola area village are 2,5 meters deep. Crna river is also endangering parts of the city of Demir Hisar.

    Heavy rains have also caused landslides in many parts of the country, with the Kocani – Makedonska Kamenica road particularly affected and closed for traffic. The road between Stip and Delcevo was also closed after a landslide, while the Katlanovo – Veles road is reduced to a single track.

    Meanwhile, the situation is stable in the areas of Stip and Karbinci, which also saw flooding over the week. Strumica, Radovis and Kicevo are also steady, with machines working to clear up river beds to prevent a repeat of the floodings.

    Food and Veterinary Agency called on the population to be strict about the water purification and food treatment rules. “You should only use bottled water or water distributed by public utility trucks for drinking or cooking. Your water reserves need to be boiled at least 15 minutes or chlorinated by a professional. Muddled water mustn’t be used for drinking or cooking”, the Agency informed on Friday. Citizens living in areas affected by flooding are also asked to wash and disinfect all objects that were flooded, while food that was in contact with flood water should be thrown away. Cutlery, fruit and vegetables should be washed thoroughly.

    Farmers are additionally asked to move their cattle on safe locations, away from rivers, and supply them with enough food, water and shelter. “If all else fails, animals should be allowed to flee. They shouldn’t be given food that was flooded and their water should be supplied from closed circuit reservoirs, or rain water, but not flood water. Farmers are also advised to mark their animals”, the Agency adds.

    After the water levels decline, the Agency advises that first priority is removal of waste backlog, and disinfection of the flooded areas. Animal carcasses should be registered and removed, and suffering, sick animals should be put down.