Biljana Peeva-Gjuric: Business Sector Requires Subsidies for Modernization and Innovation
Political crisis will have an impact this year, but this period should be quickly surpassed in order to realize the estimates for growth, Biljana Peeva-Gjuric, head of the Directorate of associations by professions in the Chamber of Commerce says.
She points out that the business requires a quick formation of a government in order for environment of stable relations of doing business to be created.
"According to statistical data and indications we have of the companies, we do not expect any major disturbances that would enable backward trend during 2017, thus the real expectation is to achieve growth, but it depends on several aspects and different influences in various industries. A positive signal is the industrial production growth for 10 months in 2016, which is increased by 4.4 percent compared to the same period in 2015 and this momentum is a good basis for further development, especially considering the growth in the sector of the processing industry of 7 percent, which accounts for 80.73 percent in the Macedonian economy", Peeva-Gjuric said.
On the economic conditions in neighboring countries, she says that forecasts are not very optimistic.
"The external environment does not offer a healthy dose of optimism given that for the coming year provides extended action of the problems faced by the countries of the European Union and the eurozone, such as stagnation, recession and low economic growth, primarily in our major trading partners. It is therefore necessary to actively monitor the situation and to respond timely, not only by companies but also by the state, and in that sense to think about appropriate measures and economic policy activities as alternative solutions", Peeva-Gjuric considered.
T: What will condition the growth of the domestic economy?
"There is no doubt that in order to enable faster growth and development of the economy, we should work towards more intensive growth of exports and investment, and continue with structural reforms in order to ensure job creation and transmission of the effects of collaboration on domestic companies. Furthermore, it is necessary to provide easier access to loans for the firms, more predictable regulatory framework and creating conditions for forming improved skills of employees in accordance with the requirements of the labor market", the director Peeva-Gjuric says.
She also emphasizes that the appeals of the companies to align the conditions for doing business need to be taken into account.
"Of course, for highlighting are the requirements of companies in terms of the need to align the conditions for doing business, as those applicable to foreign investors. For this purpose, a systematic encouragement is needed for all investments in general, as well as those used for the reconstruction and modernization of existing production facilities. Despite some tax exemptions, domestic companies should be stimulated by a set of discernible subsidies or incentives that would contribute to the modernization of capacities and innovation of technology, assistance and tax exemptions for new jobs", Peeva-Gjuric indicates.
T: What are the challenges of the business sector for next year?
"In daily operations, Macedonian companies are facing a wide range of challenges that are addressed, such as, the unfavorable influence of external environment, expressed insolvency which negatively reflects on meeting the financial needs and obligations from current operations of the companies.
This is one of the main challenges that were passed through longer periods because deteriorating current liquidity not only negatively affects their work, but the dynamics of economic development in general as well.
On the other hand, there are the non-tariff and technical barriers that arise in the foreign trade of our companies with countries for abroad, mostly to those who cooperate with the Western Balkans; frequent changes in legislation, requiring timely involvement of the business community in the amendments or additions to laws and regulations; the still present impossibility of collection of receivables on the basis of executive documents as a result of skyrocketing discretionary powers of the courts in accordance with legal regulations, as well as underdeveloped infrastructure links of the country which adversely affects the costing aspect of the work of import-export companies".
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