Blagica Petreski spoke at the conference – 30 years of World Bank in RNM

Our Executive Director, Blagica Petreski, spoke at the conference on the occasion of 30 years World Bank Republic of North Macedonia: “Investing in people: How to adapt the society in North Macedonia to the aging of the population?”.

In the panel: “Investments in human capital for a more prosperous aging in North Macedonia”, the Deputy Prime Minister of Economy Fatmir Bytiqi, the Minister of Education and Science Jeton Shaqiri, Paolo Belli from the Department of Social Protection and Jobs at the World Bank and Rita Almeida from the Department for education at the World Bank.

FT Opinion no. 60 for the ninth package of anti-crisis measures

The government announced the ninth package of anti-crisis measures . The planned budget expenditure is 662 million euros, and the goal is to protect the standard of living of citizens, and to support the liquidity of companies and the development of the economy. In addition to this budget, 3 systemic measures have been set aside to increase the salaries of public sector employees and pensions, with a total value for 2023 and 2024 of 516 million euros.

Finance Think believes that this package of anti-crisis measures has a strengthened component of targeting citizens, households and companies that are vulnerable or have a justified need for current and structural support. However, certain measures in terms of their scope, as well as certain measures that are not directly related to the crisis but help with regard to its consequences, have been adopted at a time when the country is entering an election cycle and at a time when inflation expectations remain elevated. In that sense, we estimate that such measures carry significant risks.

In the following, we elaborate and analyze quantitatively this FT Opinion.

In terms of volume, the latest anti-crisis package is similar to the previous one (for 2022), which amounted to 760 million euros [1]. However, the severity of the crisis and the stage the economy was in in 2022 compared to today are drastically different. During 2022, the energy crisis had its peak, as a result of the record prices of primary food and energy products. While, today, the price of energy and food products in the global markets has stabilized or decreased, and the domestic supply of electricity has increased. Therefore, if last year we had an acute situation and there was a real justification for an extensive package of anti-crisis measures, this year we are in the exit phase of the crisis. Hence, the total planned budget is inadequate to the current need. At the same time, although the package is called anti-crisis, the measures also include goals that are not directly related to the crisis, which may cause a wrong perception, especially considering that the country is entering a pre-election period. In that regard, the key recommendation is that instead of a constant crisis focus, at this stage it should be shifted to building resilience and sustainability of the economy.

Out of a total of 26 measures, 13 follow on from the measures announced in 2022, of which six are characterized as anti-crisis measures, and the remaining seven as measures that contribute to mitigating the effects of the crisis, but existed or probably would have existed even if there was no crisis. Then, six are new measures that provide temporary support to the income of vulnerable categories of citizens and, hence, have the character of new anti-crisis measures; while the remaining four are new measures that are not directly related to the crisis (Table 1). It is noticeable that, at least for the measures directly related to the crisis, the individual budgets have been reduced compared to the previous package, which is largely due to the gradual abandonment of linear measures at the expense of targeted measures, which was a former recommendation from Finance Think (eg see Policy Brief No. 65: What is the transmission of international food prices to the domestic economy? ), but also a condition the country undertook to acquire the Prudential and Liquidity Arrangement from the International Monetary Fund earlier this year.

Table 1. Package of government measures from November 2023


Previous anti-crisis packages New anti-crisis package
Measures that build on the measures announced in 2022
Subsidizing the price of electricity on a regulated market 222.7 million euros 35 million euros
Subsidizing the price of heat energy 17.4 million euros 7.4 million euros
Energy poverty program for GMP beneficiaries and social pension recipients 40 million euros 5.9 million euros
Financial support for energy poverty through advertisement (ME) ~1 million euros 1 million euros
Financial support to the most vulnerable categories of citizens 8 million euros 2.7 million euros
Financial support to recipients of a lower pension 12.2 million euros 35 million euros
Favorable loans for increasing energy efficiency of municipalities 10.5 million euros 10 million euros
Supporting households for investments in renewable sources and energy efficiency ~1 million euros 1.1 million euros
Favorable loans for small and medium-sized enterprises for investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects 10 million euros 10 million euros
Favorable credit line for green transition in cooperation with EIB 100 million euros 100 million euros
Green financing to SMEs and households for investments in renewable energy sources and energy efficiency 45 million euros 790,000 euros
Expansion of the range of companies benefiting from the guarantee scheme from the Guarantee Fund of Development Bank 15 million euros 39 million euros
MyVAT / 42.2 million euros
New anti-crisis measures
Financial support for salary increases in the private sector in the range of 3,000 – 9,000 denars / Fiscal revenue lost on contribution basis (not estimated)
Financial support for students in primary and secondary education / 14.3 million euros
Student transport vouchers / 2 million euros
Limitation of default interest to the amount of the debt / /
Reduction of the penalty interest rate by 3 p.p. for low-income citizens / /
Reduction in the price of milk and milk products / /
New measures not directly related to the current crisis
Advance payment of subsidies to 40,000 farmers (IPARD) / 8.1 million euros
Favorable credit line to support female entrepreneurship, digitization and projects with a positive contribution to the environment, in cooperation with the French Development Agency / 50 million euros
Favorable loans for small and medium-sized enterprises, creation and preservation of jobs, support of female entrepreneurship and green investments, in cooperation with the Development Bank of the Council of Europe / 50 million euros
Fund for energy efficiency for the private and public sector, in cooperation with the World Bank / 5 million euros

Source: Finance Think assessment based on announcements


From the aspect of the structure, the support only for households occupies 17% of the total budget (not including subsidies for the price of electricity and heat), while for companies it amounts to 74% (Table 2). However, support for households in 2023/24 has increased , again due to a strengthening of the targeted component of the package. The targeted measures in the new anti-crisis package for the categories of citizens: pupils, students and pensioners who are vulnerable are justified. The total planned budget for these measures is 70.1 million euros and their participation in the total package is 10.5%.

The total planned budget for companies has increased three times. However, half of the measures include favorable credit lines to support companies in the amount of 249.8 million euros or 37.7% of the budget. These credit lines are mostly provided by the Development Bank or in cooperation with international financial institutions (EBRD, EIB, Development Bank of the Council of Europe, World Bank and the French Development Agency).

One of the key measures for the companies, and indirectly for the employees, is the measure for subsidizing the contributions to increase the salaries of the workers in the range from 3,000 to 9,000 denars. Finance Think indicates that this measure carries risks of manipulation of the basic salary , which will be taken as a comparative basis for salary increases. At the same time, it is necessary to take months for which salaries have already been paid as a basis for comparison, that is, they would be the months of August, September and October 2023.


Table 2. Packages of government measures in 2022 and 2023/24

Previous anti-crisis packages New anti-crisis package
Support for households and farmers 80 million euros 112.3 million euros
Support for companies 155.8 million euros 492 million euros
Support for companies and households 385.1 million euros* 42.4 million euros*
Public sector support 14.9 million euros 14.9 million euros
Systemic measures to mitigate the effects of the price and energy crisis / 516.2 million euros


* The category of measures for companies and households also includes subsidies for electricity and heat energy

Source: Finance Think calculations according to announcements.


In addition to the package of anti- treasury measures, “systemic measures to mitigate the effects of the price and energy crisis” were additionally announced for 2023 and 2024, in the amount of 516 million euros. These measures consist of increasing and adjusting pensions and salaries in the public sector. 278 million euros are planned for increased pensions for over 338,000 pensioners (100 million euros for increase and 178 million euros for compliance with the new methodology). As in FT Paragraph no. 59 on pensions and the situation with the Pension and Disability Insurance Fund from August 2023, Finance Think indicates that the increase in pensions that is greater than the legal framework for harmonization puts at risk the trend of stabilization of the pension system and long-term self-sustainability .

For salaries in the public sector, funds are provided for a 10% increase in accordance with the General Collective Agreement and for vacation pay (52 million denars), as well as for a salary increase in 2024 of 150 million euros. Although these measures are important to support the living standards of the recipients, their careless implementation is contrary to the process of stabilization of inflationary expectations and may have an inflationary effect, thereby reducing the efforts of policy makers to achieve a low and sustainable inflation rate sooner. . Additionally, these measures are being promoted at a time when the country is entering an election cycle.


[1] So far, no specific anti-crisis package was announced for 2023, but during the year the Government continued subsidizing electricity and heat bills and provided a 100 million euro loan to support ESM. In addition, in the second half of the year, the freezing of the prices of basic food products was extended.

On current economic topics, Blagica Petreski in Bloomberg Adria

On current economic topics, our Executive Director, Blagica Petreski discussed in the show “Zoom in” on Bloomberg Adria MKD

In the budget proposal for the next year, fiscal consolidation is announced, and on the other hand, we are creating a budget where there is a greater growth in wages in relation to the total growth in expenditures, which is a sign of inconsistency in the intentions of the authorities, Blagica Petreski, executive director of “Finance Think” points out. ” in an interview for “Bloomberg Adria”.

In terms of capital expenditures this year, they are more realistic compared to last year, Petreski points out.

The whole conversation at the following link:…/visokite-kamatni…/news/

Our review #study at a UNDP conference

📖 Finance Think presented the latest review #study “Youth on the labor market” at the conference “Through the prism of youth: Increasing youth potential on the labor market in building the future we desire”, organized by UNDP MK.
📌 The situation with young people on the labor market is continuously improving, although they remain in a less favorable position compared to other age groups.
📌 Initiatives like #YouthGuarantee, implemented by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, are a positive impulse for youth outcomes on the labor market.
📌 Education and skill acquisition are key in modern society. Quality education and skills development in areas such as information technology, innovation and entrepreneurship can significantly increase the chances of success and contribute to the economic development of the country.
Photo credit: UNDP.

Regional workshop in cooperation with the ILO

Finance Think in collaboration with the International Labour Organization conducted the regional workshop “Peer Learning Exchange on Labour Force Movement and Seasonal Work: Addressing undeclared Work”, part of the regional project implemented by ESAP2 and funded by the EU.

Finance Think at the 9th Western Balkan Civil Society Forum in Тhessaloniki

Finance Think participated in the 9th Western Balkan Civil Society Forum, which was held on October 19 and 20, 2023 in Thessaloniki, Republic of Greece, organized by the EESC – European Economic and Social Committee.

The Forum focused on #skills and the Youth Guarantee, as well as the #green agenda, which are an integral part of our research programs.

The forum brought together 120 participants, including a wide range of civil society representatives from the EU and the Western Balkans, as well as representatives of EU institutions, international organizations and governments from the region.

A second debate club on multidimensional child poverty

Today we held the second debate club to identify policy overlaps, gaps, priorities and common goals related to multidimensional child poverty.

The club was attended by representatives from the sectors of social protection, education and health, and from the State Statistics Office

We conducted the club as part of the partnership action with UNICEF MK.

Finance Think at the Annual Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank in Marrakech

Our Blagica Petreski is participating in the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which are being held this year in Marrakech, the Kingdom of Morocco, October 9-15, 2023.

A week filled with #debate, #research inspiration and new insights into global and domestic economic #policies.