Skopje, 28 February 2023 – At an event to present the findings of a new analysis on the impact of the food and energy crisis on children and families, representatives of the government, civil society and development partners discussed policy recommendations to address the increase of poverty.
The new analysis presented by UNICEF and Finance Think, highlights that some 33 thousand people – ten thousand of which were children – have been pushed below the poverty line due to the food and energy crisis. While the Government measures have been successful in ensuring that the number of affected families has not been higher, participants noted the need for more targeted interventions to support the most vulnerable households.
” Since the beginning of the energy crisis, the Ministry of Economy has continuously implemented measures to support citizens. In addition to the fact that the state subsidizes 80% of electricity for households and small consumers, last year when the energy crisis began, we created a special programme within the Ministry of Economy through which the measure for subsidizing the electricity bill for vulnerable categories of citizens was realized. The measure has been extended during this year as well.,” said the Minister of Economy, Kreshnik Bekteshi.
In 2022, compared to 2021, the Consumer Price Index in North Macedonia increased by 14%. Food prices increased by 22% on average, while some categories of food increased by 36%. These price shocks disproportionally affected families with multiple children and with lower incomes, due to the greater share of food and energy expenditures in their household budget. The most vulnerable segments of the population are left with little funds to meet their other basic needs.