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Macedonia Pledges New Jobs as Opposition Stages Protests

June 6, 2012

Government promises new jobs for thousands of people as opposition launches anti-government protests across the country.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic, Balkan Insight, 05.06.2012

 

Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski | Photo by: vlada.mk

The centre-right government of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski on Saturday announced 12 new economic and social measures to ease the pain for ordinary people in the current crisis.

The government plans to spend some 13 million euro on financing the employment of some 4,000 middle-aged workers in municipal administration in those municipalities that suffer worst unemployment levels.

The government also plans to give credits to self-employed people and small firms that are ready to hire new workers as well as improve liquidity overall with an additional 111 million euro in credits.

“The measures are carefully projected,” Gruevski said on TV. “They are realistic, feasible, and not a product of political pamphleteering.”

Other measures include boosting help for socially vulnerable families, computer vouchers for students and easing of equipment registration for farmers.

The measures come as the main opposition Social Democrats launched a series of protests against Gruevski, who has been in power since 2006, in the southeastern town of Strumica on June 3.

The protests will end with a mass rally in the capital, Skopje, on September 2.

“The government has finally admitted it is incapable of boosting the economy and providing new jobs in an economically sustainable way,” said Zoran Jovanovski, the Social Democrats’ vice president.

“We are not surprised that the new jobs coincide with the local elections [due in early 2013],” he added.

While the government insists it has already slightly reduced unemployment from 33 to 31 per cent, the opposition contests these figures.

Former Macedonian Finance Minister Nikola Popovski said the new set of measures does not address the core problems of the economy.

“Key problems are falling industrial output, economic stagnation, lack of investment, falling living standards, high unemployment, decreasing exports as well as increased external debt,” he said, adding that “these social measures will solve none of these problems”.

Macedonian has had a tough time this year. Amid shrinking exports caused largely by the European crisis, the government continues to forecast 2 per cent economic growth in 2012. However, the IMF and the World Bank do not expect more than 1 per cent growth.

In the last half-year Macedonia has borrowed or agreed to borrow some 460 million euro. At the same time industrial output marks a decline each month, State Statistical Office Data show.

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From → Economy, FYROM, Politics

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