Minister of Economy Kreshnik Bekteshi announced on Thursday that, in accordance with the Law on Unfair Commercial Practices, the Ministry of Economy has adopted measures aimed at reducing inflation, particularly for basic food products.

“Based on the proposal from the Ministry of Economy, we have implemented 25 decisions to limit the prices of essential food items, cap trade margins on certain products, and abolish customs duties on specific food products. These measures are designed to protect citizens’ living standards amidst the ongoing price crisis. Thanks to these efforts, we have reduced inflation from 19.5 percent in November 2022 to 3.1 percent at the end of last year. The newly enacted Law on Unfair Commercial Practices is a first for our country. New supplier and manufacturer contracts should further reduce food inflation below 2 percent in the coming months,” Bekteshi stated during his final press conference in office.

Over the past seven years, numerous laws, bylaws, rulebooks, and decisions have been adopted to enhance the country’s business climate.

“Legislative amendments in the energy sector enabled key reforms for energy stability, and changes to support investments have paved the way for significant economic growth and development. Detailed reforms and measures over the past seven years, particularly in response to health, energy, price, and economic crises, have helped us maintain job positions and improve living conditions for all citizens,” Bekteshi noted.

A new investment cycle in the renewable energy sector has led to substantial growth, particularly in photovoltaic power production. Capacity increased from 20 MW in 2017 to 600 MW, with licenses issued for an additional 1,311 MW. This expansion has raised the renewables’ share of total electricity generation from below 20 percent in 2017 to 33 percent today.

“Through our energy efficiency program, over 10,000 households received subsidies to replace windows, install solar collectors, and set up photovoltaic plants. We allocated more than Mden 400 million (EUR 6.5 million), significantly enhancing household energy efficiency and renewable energy use. Additionally, we provided around Mden 120 million (EUR 2 million) in subsidies to lower electricity prices for vulnerable groups during 2022 and 2023,” the Minister highlighted.

A total of 919 foreign and domestic companies received EUR 100 million in state support through the Law on Financial Support of Investments, resulting in over EUR 500 million in investments over the past six years.

“Tourism support has dramatically increased, notably through a voucher network supporting domestic tourism. Since its inception in 2018, the Ministry has distributed Mden 770 million (EUR 12.5 million) and over 120,000 tourism vouchers to low-wage workers,” Bekteshi added.

Amendments to the Law on Mineral Resources have ensured the safety and health of citizens, including the unilateral termination of 144 contracts for exploitation and concessions, and the issuance of 123 permits for mineral resource exploitation.

“Through our program supporting entrepreneurship and innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises, we awarded Mden 202 million (EUR 3.3 million) in financial support to 1,923 companies, focusing on female entrepreneurship, certification, foundation projects, associations, craft chambers, and business angel networks. Additionally, we implemented measures worth Mden 61.3 million (EUR 1 million) to support the processing industry and corporate social responsibility, aiding 190 companies, clusters, and associations with employee training, smart specialization, and new standards accreditation,” Bekteshi concluded. Furthermore, over 50 shops in the Skopje Old Bazaar received a total of Mden 4 million (EUR 65,000) to unify their storefronts.