Tuesday, 22 May 2018 | News today: 11

Gruevski warns that the Government may end up losing dozens of major potential manufacturing investments

VMRO-DPMNE President Nikola Gruevski detailed dozens of companies who were in final stages of negotiations with his Government to invest in Macedonia and urged the new Government to do all it can to bear these initiated contact to fruition. Gruevski warned that in many cases, excellent investment opportunities from major companies from Japan, Germany, Turkey and other countries, are being ignored by the new Government, and its overall approach toward the foreign direct investment opportunities is negative and can undo much of the work of the previous years.

“I appeal to the Government to continue opening new jobs by bringing in foreign investors. These investments were crucial in our work to bring the unemployment rate down from 38 percent to 23 percent”, said Gruevski in his lengthy press conference on Sunday. Without naming the companies, he gave the country of origin, the intended investment, approximate location in Macedonia and the expected number of new jobs that were being negotiated. In five dozen cases, Gruevski listed talks to open plants employing in some cases over a thousand people in innovative production areas, for a total of 20.000 new jobs that are in the pipeline.

“In the past three months, these companies have had no contact with the new Government, some are giving up on their ideas, but some could still be persuaded to come to Macedonia. If earlier I wondered whether the Government is unable to bring in new investment, I now begin to think that they may even be unwilling to do so”, Gruevski said, adding that he and his FDI team, which has been largely dismissed by the new Government, stand prepared to provide the necessary information and guidance, adding that all the documents on the progress of these talks are also available to the Government.

Gruevski strongly condemned the idea of the SDSM led Government to publish contracts signed with foreign investors in Macedonia under agreed confidentiality. Gruevski said that this would destroy trust with the companies which have opened tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs in Macedonia so far, and who operated on the assumption that these contracts would remain confidential. Subsidies given to bring in major manufacturing plants, such as tax cuts, support for setting up the plant and for educating the workforce, Gruevski added, are trade secrets, and once made public, Macedonia would be disadvantaged in the race with neighboring countries when it comes to bringing in new manufacturing companies. Gruevski added that there were many cases in which companies did not ask for specific subsidies, but that in the future, new investors will certainly ask for the maximum amount of subsidies available, once the contracts are made public and they see how some of the previous investors were treated.

Overall, Gruevski said that Macedonia is clearly entering a period of economic stagnation that is a sort of an early warning to the Government, which should seriously consider the drop in investments and in industrial activity.