Foggy economics in Macedonia come into focus
Last year, the government said Macedonia would be immune to the world economic crisis -- wrong they were. Now the country is taking steps to tackle the dilemma.
By Zoran Nikolovski for Southeast European Times in Skopje -- 02/11/09
National Bank Governor Petar Goshev. [Tomislav Georgiev/SETimes]
A gradual return to growth is expected, and GDP is only forecasted to slip between 1% and 1.5% this year -- a slight improvement from the previous outlook that called for a 2.5% decline, said IMF Mission Chief for Macedonia Wes McGrew.
"Although the crisis has obviously had an impact on Macedonia, it has faired significantly better than most other countries in the region," said the government at a joint press conference with the heads of the Macedonian financial institutions.
However, the Social Democratic Union for Macedonia (SDSM) warns that the IMF predicted a high risk of macroeconomic instability.
"The government remains alone in its unreal projections for 2009 opposite IMF, EBRD [European Bank for Reconstruction and Development] and SDSM projections", said SDSM Vice-President Zoran Jovanovski.
This past summer, the debate over the impact of the global financial crisis heated up.
Headlines last July read, "Macedonia faces bankruptcy". The media buzz was sparked when then Finance Minister Trajko Slaveski said the country was on the brink of liquidating its assets. He called for parliament to rebalance the budget and cut expenses by approximately 100m euros.
National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia. [National Bank of Macedonia]
The alert shocked the country. Many speculated that civil jobs and pensions might be cut to help battle the country's debt -- those fears never came to fruition.
The country was however hit in the gut by the global financial crisis, and newly-designated Finance Minister Zoran Stavrevski, who is also the deputy prime minister, announced the country had dipped into a recession.
"Nobody should be surprised that during 2009 Macedonia has had negative growth rates as have other countries and that it would enter recession this year. If the whole world is in recession it is unlikely to expect that Macedonia was out of that," said Stavrevski to parliament.
Although Stavrevski was not surprised, some of the headlines on his government run website were ominous.....