In less than a month, the Macedonian Government canceled two contracts with foreign companies who planned to invest in the pre-prepared industrial zones near Skopje.
One of them is the Sagen pharma company which was supposed to be the first Albanian investor in the Bunardzik zone near Skopje, which has received a dozen major investors since 2007. The company announced it will invest up to 20 million EUR and hire 300 workers, and the 2018 ground-breaking ceremony was widely publicized by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.
Another contract that was canceled is with the German Kessler group, which produces car parts from a plant near Bunardzik. In 2016 the company began operations and hired dozens of highly qualified mechanical engineers, but its plan was to expand into a larger plant in Bunardzik and grow to 150 jobs. It is now reported that the company will likely remain with its origin plans and location.
This is the first time investors who have already signed contracts with an industrial zone to back down. Under the previous, Nikola Gruevski Government, Macedonia set up a dozen industrial zones where companies can open plants at locations that already have road, gas, electricity and often railroad access, and the Government provides subsidies for plant construction and significant tax breaks. The model proved very successful, but with the 2015 Colored Revolution and now with the coronavirus epidemic, the flow of investments dried out. Several companies from the US, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and India have signed contracts to expand into the industrial zones, and they have nine months from the signing of the contract to begin construction.