Stavreski: Unemployment reduction owed to Government measures

The unemployment rate in recent years has been declining on regular basis as a result of the Government measures and reforms, says Vice Premier and Finance Minister Zoran Stavreski in an interview with portal

According to him, the unemployment rate in Q3 of 2012 was 30.6 percent, the lowest over the past eight years, even lower than the pre-crisis period.

Mr. Stavreski refers to measures supporting the liquidity of companies by low and flat taxes, stimulation to entrepreneurship and private initiatives through start-up loans and reduction of shadow economy, active employment measures and policies, attraction of foreign direct investments that open new jobs etc.

"All these activities have contributed to mitigating the crisis effects and have influenced the reduction of the unemployment rate", stresses Mr. Stavreski.

Referring to the 2013 budget, Mr. Stavreski says that if it had not been adopted on time, Macedonia would have been unable to provide its financing by the World Bank favorable loans.

A failure to adopt the new budget on time would have put in question the regular payment of pensions, welfare, farmers' subsidies, realization of capital investments - construction of roads, schools, hospitals... It would have had unfavorable effect on the business sector, citizens and hence on the overall economic activity and budget revenues.

Such outcome would have also brought harm to Macedonia's image, because a country that is unable to adopt a budget sends a bad message to foreign investors, credit rating agencies, international financial institutions and the European Commission, Mr. Stavreski says.

Refuting to the opposition's ungrounded claims that Macedonia's debt is pretty high, Mr. Stavreski added that the central government's debt-GDP ratio is at 30.6 percent.

The best answer to the opposition's ungrounded criticism for Macedonia's high debt has come from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which commend the country's sound fiscal policy and low-debt-GDP ratio, Minister Stavreski says.

The Fitch and Standard & Poor's agencies have not downgraded Macedonia's credit rating, citing relatively low debt level, moderate budget deficit, sound economic policies, stable financial sector, FDI inflow and potential for economic growth in the upcoming mid-term, Mr. Stvareski says.