Publication: FYR Macedonia Public Expenditure Review

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World Bank
Progress in advancing political and economic reforms has been substantial this decade. The authorities have moved with determination in implementing the Framework Agreement for Peace (the Ohrid Agreement) that ended the 2001 hostilities, including enhancing the representation of minorities in governmental structures. This, together with economic reforms and the implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union (EU), led the European Council to grant FYR Macedonia the status of a candidate country in December 2005. In 2003, the Government introduced a stabilization program focused on tighter fiscal policy and supported by the continuation of the de facto pegging of the exchange rate against the euro. The budget deficit was virtually eliminated in the first year of the program and in the subsequent years spending has been sharply reduced as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The fiscal adjustment helped improve financial stability and placed public debt ratios on a steadily declining path, with government debt amounting to about 30 percent of GDP at the end of 2006. The balance of payments has improved since 2003, and especially since 2005. In fact, FYR Macedonia has the smallest current account deficit in the region equivalent to 0.4 percent of GDP. A key challenge for the new Government is to adopt policies that will facilitate formalization of economic activity, including employment. In this context, the authorities are urged to explore options to reduce social security contribution rates, starting with the elimination of the minimum contribution threshold which represents an enormous disincentive for formal sector employment for low-wage and part-time workers.
World Bank. 2008. FYR Macedonia Public Expenditure Review. © Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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