The Government of the Republic of Macedonia yesterday held its 32nd session on which the second package of economic measures was reviewed and adopted to tackle the crisis.
The Prime Minister Oliver Spasovski noted that these are economic measures designed based on extensive consultation and substantial debate with the members of the Economic Council formed just for this purpose, as well as through their discussions with the business community by the chambers of commerce and separate discussions with top economic experts in the academic field and the respectable and successful businessmen from the real sector.
Measure 1 – financial support for legal entities from the private sector
Measure No. 1, established today at the Government session, provides financial support for legal entities from the private sector affected by the health-economic crisis caused by COVID-19.
The subject of this financial support is the salary payments to workers by the employer – applicant for financial support for the months of April and May 2020 in the amount of up to 14.500 denars per month per worker, in proportion to the effective hours worked.
● The measure supports the liquidity of private sector employers, i.e. reduces their salary costs aimed at protecting the workers’ jobs in times of crisis.
● A Government Program for financial support of employers affected by the health-economic crisis caused by COVID-19 will be opened, in order to implement the measure.
● The employers, legal entities from the private sector will independently pay the salary on a regular basis through the tool “Monthly calculation for integrated collection” of the Public Revenue Office.
● The employers from the private sector, applicants for financial support will have to meet several requirements to use the measure:
– Not to pay dividends to the owners; as well as bonuses, annual awards, awards for business performance, etc. to the employees and members of the management and supervisory bodies of the employer.
– Have at least a 30% reduction in revenues compared to the last year’s average, i.e. seasonal average for employers who perform seasonal work.
– For the month for which financial support is required, the average of the highest net pay for 10% of the number of employees that the employer has – applicant for financial support, shall not exceed 120.000 denars per month per employee.
● The financial support does not apply to those employees who received a net salary higher than 39.900 denars for the months of December 2019 and January and February 2020.
The employers that will receive financial support from this measure are obliged to retain the same number of employees they had at the time of application as of September 2020.
● The employers that made losses for 2020 will not return the received financial support. For others, the return is limited to the amount of 50% of the pre-tax profit increased for taxable expenditures.
This measure also covers the media legal entities from the private sector, under the same conditions.
Additional decree will be enacted for the sole proprietors, i.e. all craftsmen like mechanics, hairdressers, barbers and others, to have access to this measure.
Subsidizing 50% of the salary contributions:
A 50% subsidy of contributions is introduced for the affected companies. This measure is an alternative to net salary.
The criteria for use of the two measures will be announced in a supplementary decree.
Measure 2 – Support for athletes
For all sports workers employed in sports associations, the Government will provide a minimum salary of 14.500 denars for April and May.
Measure 3 – Support for artists
141 independent artists will be provided with a minimum salary for April and May, as well as contributions by the Ministry of Culture.
Measure 4 – Monthly salary (remuneration) for citizens who have lost their jobs because of the crisis, up to 50% of the average salary of the employee
For the citizens who have lost their jobs due to the crisis, the state will pay remuneration every month in the amount of 50% of the average monthly net salary of the employee for the last 24 months under the Law on Employment and Insurance Against Unemployment and Article 68 of this Law, according to which citizens who have lost their jobs will receive compensation through the Еmployment Agency in accordance with their years of service.
For example: For 5 years of service, 4 months compensation, or for 24 years of service – 12 months compensation.
Measure 5 – All elected and appointed officials will receive a minimum salary of 14.500 denars in April and May 2020
All elected and appointed officials at state and local levels will take a minimum net salary (as of December 2019) of 14.500 denars for April and May 2020.
This means: The presidents of the state, the Parliament and the Government, all ministers, deputy ministers, state secretaries, directors of state institutions, MPs, mayors, and all other elected and appointed officials.
The provisions of this decree shall not apply to persons appointed according to law in public health institutions.
Measure 6 – The Presidents and the members of the management and supervisory boards of public institutions will not receive compensation for the duration of the crisis
The Presidents and the members of the management and supervisory boards of public institutions of the executive and the local government, as well as presidents and members of municipal councils, and presidents and members of the committees established by the executive and the local government who are at the same time employed, shall not receive any remuneration during the crisis. The decision will apply until the Government decides to terminate the same.
This measure does not apply to unemployed persons,, and that this is their only income.
Measure 7 – Care for people in the informal economy – Compensation of 7.000 denars per household for people without work engagement or persons who were part of the informal economy
For those people who have lost their job or were part of the informal economy, is provided a quick entry into the social protection system for April and May. They will receive an average of 7.000 denars per household.
The estimated range of the new measures is approximately 20.000 new households from the informal economy and 30.000 existing customers.
Measure 8 – The Law on Enforcement is suspended to the end of June
The Law on Enforcement is suspended i.e. terminated to the end of June. The executors will be obliged to stop taking any enforcement actions.
The employers of the debtors and the payment operations carriers are obliged to stop acting on orders issued by enforcement agents by the end of June. This shall not apply in cases where the money is already added on the executors’ account and they will be able to transfer the money to the creditors, and in cases when it comes to alimony for children of single parents.
The realization of this measure is already underway.
Measure 9 – Delay in bank loan
The National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia changed the Decision on the methodology for credit risk management in order to adopt specific provisions to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.
In order to facilitate the implementation of the activities enacted with the Decision, which refer to the conduct of activities by the banks for the delay in payments, reprogramming and negotiation between the banks and their clients in conditions of crisis from COVID-19, the Ministry of Finance and the National Bank in collaboration with the Macedonian bank association prepared a Decree on the manner of changing the contractual terms of the credit exposures of banks and savings houses, which defines how to implement the change, which was enacted on the government session held on 26.03.2020.
This Decree allows banks an easy and simple way to delay the loans of its customers without signing annexes and without going to the counter and physical locations of the banks.
The Banks will offer favorable conditions to the legal entities as prolongation of the repayment, reprogramming, grace period, favorable interest rates ect., while for the individuals the banks will postpone the repayment of the installments for 3 to 6 months.
Each bank will make a decision on its supervisory approvals and notify its customers.
This measure is already in implementation.
Measure 10 – Reduction of the installment and reprogramming of loans for the financial and leasing companies
This measure provides to reprogram the loans of individuals with reduction of the installments in the next three months for 70% of the installment and extending the repayment period for at least 90 days of maturity.
Loans to legal entities will be decided individually by proposing the most appropriate benefits according to the needs of the companies. New loan agreements to be approved with a 3-month grace period. The default interest which until now was 51%, now drops to 31%, while other expenses that companies charge will be limited to 20% of the approved loan.
Measure 11 – To delay lease payment for users of social housing
The lease payment of social housing will be postponed for all users, and the lease payment will be also delayed for the citizens, while for the companies a special decree on the matter will be enacted.
Measure 12 – Additional interest-free loans for companies from new 8 million euros
The Development Bank of Macedonia, despite 5.7 million will release an additional 8 million interest-free loans for micro, small and medium enterprises, that the company can take depending on the number of employees. The maximum amount of loan that will be approved to the borrower can not exceed 5.535 million denars, i.e. 90.000 euros, while the minimum amount of the loan cannot be lower than 184.500 denars i.e. 3.000 euros.
The loans will be approved with a repayment period of 3 years with a grace period of 12 months for working capital purposes. The repayment of the loan by the borrower shall be made in quarterly repayments.
The loans are interest-free and without administration costs. The loans will be provided with a bill of exchange – aval from one of the owners of the borrower, in the form of a notarial act with enforceable clause.
Measure 13 – 50 million cheap loans from the Development Bank of the Republic of Macedonia placed through commercial banks to protect the liquidity of the companies
Within the current loan agreement between the Development Bank of the Republic of Macedonia and the European Investment Bank, the use of favorable loans for small and medium enterprises is enabled.
The primary goal of this credit line is to provide fresh capital to support new projects, new jobs, increased liquidity in the economy and increased exports. The Development Bank placed this credit line through commercial banks to end-users, i.e. to SMEs and companies with an average market capitalization.
Under this agreement, the Development Bank has the opportunity to withdraw the unused part of the credit line for around 50 million euros, with a low-interest rate, according to submitted applications by the commercial banks. In order to overcome the problems arising from the new situation with the outbreak of the virus COVID-19 which directly affects the operation of the small and medium enterprises, the state is taking measures with which will subsidize the interest rate of the Development Bank to the EIB, as well as an administrative expense of 0,5% which the Development Bank will calculate to commercial banks through which will place the funds from this credit line.
With this measure, the Development Bank of the Republic of Macedonia will offer an interest rate of 0% to commercial banks who, in this line will go with lower margins and will be able to offer interest rates of about 1.5% for the loans.
Measure 14 – It is forbidden to open a bankruptcy procedure
During the crisis and 6 months after the crisis, it is forbidden to open a bankruptcy procedure.
This measure has been already taken.
Measure 15 – Mandatory use of the first part of the annual holiday (for 2020), i.e. mandatory reuse of the annual holiday last year as of May 2020, which will be approved by the employer.
Measure 16 – Establishment of a solidarity COVID-19 fund
The Government will open a special dedicated account to receive donations from legal entities and individuals who will be able and willing to donate funds that will be used to help and support in dealing with the crisis caused by the coronavirus.
We call upon all legal entities and individuals to be solidary and to help this solidarity fund.
Measure 17 – Reduction of royalties
The persons on any ground engaged through royalties by state institutions, who are at the same time employed somewhere, will be paid a 50% lower fee of the contract they have signed. This measure shall not apply if the person is unemployed and the income from the copyright contract is his only income.
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