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ERP 2020 - 2022: Reduction of Youth Unemployment Levels, Networking between Companies and Reduction of Grey Economy are Top Priorities

Skopje, May 22nd, 2019

- Reforms with a view to reduce youth unemployment rates, improve networking of domestic companies in international value chains and reduce gray economy were among topics discussed at the panel during the High Level Conference on initiation of preparations of the Economic Reform Programme 2020 - 2022, which is part of the dialogue of Western Balkans and Turkey with the European Union.

- By means of discussion and dialogue with the European Commission, we have established which areas would be the focus in the following Programme, those being: reduction of youth unemployment rates, improvement of networking of domestic companies in international value chains and reduction of gray economy. A Strategy to Formalize Informal Economy has already been adopted for the first time, and we have already conducted activities anticipated under the Action Plan 2018 - 2020. Actions towards reduction of youth unemployment rates are organized by means of youth guarantee - stated Minister of Finance, Dragan Tevdovski.

The conference was also addressed by the Governor of National Bank and competent ministers from sectors undergoing implementation of reforms anticipated under the Programme.

In her speech during the conference panel discussion, Governor Anita Angelovska - Bezhoska focused on part of the conclusions and assessments from the Economic Reform Programme, which fall under direct or indirect competence of the central bank.

-The issue with nonperforming loans in our country is much less prominent in contrast to other countries in the region - stressed the Governor, stressing that it is necessary to continue activities aimed at reduction of the scope thereof. For that purpose, a separate strategy was adopted towards the end of the past year to address these matters.

During the discussion, she also mentioned that euroisation is constantly decreasing in North Macedonia and that it is among the lowest at regional level; however, further actions need to be taken in this area. -My expectations are that additional guidelines and measures defined under the Denarisation Strategy would contribute to further increase in the use of the domestic value - said Angelovska-Bezhoska. Furthermore, she also focused on the growth of consumer loans.

The Minister of Information Society and Administration, Damjan Manchevski, focused on the introduction of a register of parafiscal charges at central and local level. He stressed that the Register of Parafiscal Charges is integrated in the E-Service Catalogue that MISA is currently working on.

-In addition to services offered by institutions in North Macedonia, for the first time we will also have an integrated database of all fees paid by citizens and businesses during provision of services. The register includes data on service and administrative tax fees. The catalogue includes groups of data, i.e. basic information, legislation, requirements and proof, templates, and parafiscal charges - said Manchevski.

The Minister of Education, Arber Ademi, focused on reforms that need to be implemented in terms of teaching staff. He underlined that investments in continuous training of teaching staff are basis for quality education. On the other hand, educational programmes need improvement, and faculties of pedagogy need to be completely reformed. He stressed that it is necessary to apply a career advancement system among teachers in order to evaluate their work.

Focusing on youth guarantee, Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Policy, Gönül Bayraktar, stressed that the aim in the following period is to implement the guarantee on the entire teritory of the Republic of North Macedonia, with particular focus on most vulnerable youth groups from the Northeastern, Polog and Southwestern region. For that purpose, and based on the experience thus far in terms of implementation of the Youth Guarantee pilot phase, he stressed that the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, in cooperation with competent institutions and the International Labor Organization, will prepare a new Youth Guarantee plan for the period 2020 - 2022. With this, the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia demonstrates that it continuously cares for improvement in the state-of-affairs among youth on the labor market in R.N. Macedonia.

Ministry of Information Society and Administration