Thursday, 14 December 2017 | News today: 14

Victor Mizo: 2,500 employments in the free economic zones

With the opening of the second manufacturing plant and the new investment worth EUR 65 million, British company "Johnson Matthey" in TIDZ "Skopje" has become the biggest greenfield foreign investment in Macedonia, with total investment of over EUR 140 million

Viktor-Mizo-1 (1)

Directorate of Technological Industrial Development Zones (DTIDZ) CEO Viktor Mizo’s a couple of years living and working in the US help him see how the world economy operates. He came back to Macedonia with his knowledge and experience in order to contribute something for his country as well. As first man of the Directorate, he says that the entrance of the foreign capital, no matter the regional stand, directly influences on improving the economic situation in the country. Statistics says that 1,500 people have been employed in the “Skopje” industrial zone, and 1,000 in TIDZ “Stip”. Macedonian companies, which worked on these foreign facilities and provided them with their services, were paid around EUR 50 million. Viktor Mizo stresses that TIDZ “Skopje” and TIDZ “Stip” include the manufacturing capacities of Johnson Matthey, Johnson Controls, Van Hool, Kemet, Prodis, Teknohose (Vitek). In the course of 2014, he expects concrete investments from countries such as America, Germany, Turkey and Italy.

How many foreign investments did Macedonia have in 2013?

Mizo: According to the preliminary statistical data of the National Bank, in the first, second and third quart of 2013 foreign investments amounted to EUR 144.44, which is more than the total amount in the previous year, which means we are marking a growth.

In the course of 2013, over EUR 70 million have been invested in the current manufacturing capacities, while the 2013 export of the companies from the zones will reach around 25 % from the overall export of the country.  TIDZ “Skopje” and TIDZ “Stip” include the manufacturing capacities of Johnson Matthey, Johnson Controls, Van Hool, Kemet, Prodis, Teknohose (Vitek). “Van Hool” finished the construction of the manufacturing plant located in TIDZ “Skopje” and started with production. “Johnson Controls” built its second manufacturing capacity in TIDZ “Stip”, which started functioning from September. In the course of 2013, part of the companies located in the zones brought a decision for reinvesting. Italian company “Vitek” placed October foundation stone of its second manufacturing plant, where a warehouse space is also to be built. The new investment amounts to EUR 11 million, which will be invested for construction of facilities and equipment. With the opening of the second manufacturing plant and the new investment worth EUR 65 million, British company “Johnson Matthey” in TIDZ “Skopje” has become the biggest greenfield foreign investment in Macedonia, with total investment of over EUR 140 million.

Which regions in the country have the biggest benefit from them so far, or in other words where is the entrance of the foreign capital mostly felt in terms of enhancement of the economy and the living standard of the citizens?

MizoThe entrance of the foreign capital, regardless of the regional stand, is directly influencing on the improvement of the economic situation in the entire country. Of course, the location of the companies in certain areas is enabling the opening of jobs in order to improve the standard of living of the local population. However, the companies, apart from opening new job positions, enhance the economy in the whole country. EUR 50 million exchange have been realized with the establishment of cooperation between the local companies and the companies located in the zones in the course of 2013. The number includes all activities between the companies in the zones and the local suppliers – from construction of facilities to all services like logistics, transport, consulting and others. Here I would mention the cooperation between the Belgian company “Van Hool”, located in TIDZ “Skopje 1″ and company “Uniplast” from Struga  for development and production of reinforced polyester products, as well as “Aktiva”, manufacturing parts for the “Van Hool” buses. “Johnson Matthey” cooperates with the Skopje-based “Zavar”, whose products are used for “Johnson Matthey” manufacture, “TE-TE plast” which manufactures plastics and the Kocani-based company “Ting”, whose products are based on inox materials.

Regarding the regional interest of the foreign companies that invested in Macedonia, they were mostly interested in investing in Skopje’s zones. The interest in investing in Skopje’s zones is the biggest because it is important for the operating companies to be close to the airport and the capital city, have more sophisticated technologies requiring more engineers, while the price of the labor force is not determinant. The situation is significantly changing when negotiating with companies using relatively more labor force in the technological process and is more favorable not to be close to Skopje, where the costs are higher.

Directorate of Technological Industrial Development Zones cannot influence on the companies’ decisions about the location because their choice depends on various factors. Companies have to have the choice for proper location which will satisfy all their demands in regard to infrastructure, availability of qualified labor force with previous experience in the corresponding field, professional education and sufficient number of people with proper education. Also, it is important for the companies while deciding about the location that they have the possibility for cooperation with educational institutions in the region, for instance, the cooperation between “Johnson Controls” and the Skopje-based Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in adjustment of the syllabus for educating staff according to the needs of the investors, etc.

It is up to us to enable them to have equally good infrastructural conditions in each zone. The zones are always planned and developed in cooperation with the self-government units, among other things, because construction and development of infrastructure of high quality. The development of such infrastructure not only will influence the foreign investors, but also the whole region.

How foreign investments influence the local economy and the small businesses?

MizoThe entrance of foreign investments is subjected to a range of analysis and is affected by various factors. The location of the companies in certain regions in Macedonia does not mean endangering the local economy and the small businesses, but an opportunity for improving the cooperation, the business climate and the living standard. The opportunity of cooperation with local companies is very important for both sides.

The location of the foreign companies in the industrial zones on local level enables improvement of the economic situation in the country. With the construction of the economic complex for rent, storage, processing and distribution of the agricultural products in the industrial zone “Makazi” in Resen, which is to be built by the “Apple Land” company from Dubai, will enable protection of the producers. Or in other words, apple producers will be able to storage the apples and wait a proper time to reach higher price.

Generally, the entrance of the foreign investments in Macedonia has positive effect on the economy, as on local so on central level, allowing development and maintaining of the small businesses.

How many people have been employed in these companies so far and does Macedonia have enough experts in order to respond the needs of the investors?

Mizo: While bringing the decision to invest, one of the key factors for determining the location by the foreign investors is also proper profile of qualified labor force. Entrance of foreign investments, among other things, presents a transfer of knowledge, development of new technologies. Or in other words, each company, in regard to its activity, has the need of certain educated profile. Thus far, companies located in the zones have invested in training and additional qualification of the employees. Thus, the companies in accordance with their needs have found and employed persons with proper educational profile, but at the same time enables their employees to upgrade their knowledge.

Companies need persons with technological, mechanical, electrical and similar educational profiles. That is why “Johnson Controls” established cooperation with the Skopje-based Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. Government is constantly motivating the young population to enroll in fields of natural sciences through the media and the Ministry of Education is investing in more contemporary laboratories following this economical development, we direct education towards more proper staff, which we could offer to the potential investors.

In regard to the number of employees in the zones, we can say that we mark growth. We rounded off 2012 with 1,270. In 2013 we have 2,500 employments TIDZ “Skopje” and TIDZ “Stip”. This year,  just from the current companies in the zones, the number of employees will be around 3,500.

What can we expect in 2014? Do you expect a better year in terms on investments?

Mizo: Directorate of Technological Industrial Development Zones is realizing constant contacts with foreign companies, with which we are at a different stages of negotiations. In the course of 2014 I expect investments from countries like America, Germany, Turkey and Italy. In the first quart of 2014 we expect the final decisions of some of the companies with which the negotiations are ongoing. In terms of the volume of foreign investments for this year, we expect rise in the companies’ production in accordance with with their projected growth of their export. In the course of 2013, the export of the companies from the zones reached almost 25% out of the total export of the country, and for 2014 we expect it to reach almost one third of the total export of Macedonia.

Which sectors are the most interesting for foreign investors and which profiles can expect employment?

MizoFrom the realized contacts, a special interest for investing in Macedonia express foreign companies from the fields like the automotive industry, electronics, IT-sector, agriculture, textile industry and tourism. In accordance with the mentioned fields, people can expect employments including a bigger profile of experts.