Foreign companies nervous about investing in Macedonia, survey shows

Foreign companies nervous about investing in Macedonia, survey shows
By bne IntelliNews April 26, 2016

Foreign companies operating in Macedonia have shown some hesitance about further investments in the crisis-hit country, a survey by the Skopje-based Economic Chamber indicated on April 26.

The country's political crisis deepened after president Gjorge Ivanov decided on April 12 to pardon top politicians under criminal investigation. This sparked mass protests in the country, which have now entered their third week.

In July 2015, the main political parties in Macedonia reached the EU-mediated Przino agreement on overcoming the crisis in the first half of last year, but the deal has not been fully implemented.

The survey by the Economic Chamber of Macedonia was conducted in the period April 19-22, among 1,000 local companies, mainly from industry, as well as from the construction and services sectors.

37% said that previously concluded agreements with foreign companies had been cancelled, according to the survey sent to bne Intellinews.

These companies noted that foreign partners cancelled their scheduled visits and also reported possible termination of deals concluded mainly with partners from European Union countries and Russia, which were concerned about the ability of local companies to deliver goods regularly due to the current situation.

This may result in layoffs and problems with liquidity, 37% of surveyed companies said.

Tourist companies and travel agencies also expect the numbers of foreign tourists visiting Macedonia to be lower compared to previous years due to the crisis.

Problems with liquidity were reported by 45% of the surveyed companies. Exports and imports were problems for 17% and 14% of the firms respectively.

However, the results of the survey showed that Macedonian construction companies, which are active in various projects in the country, are not affected by the crisis.

The problems faced by companies in Macedonia were not only a result of the current situation in the country. Most have been present for a longer period, though they are now more apparent, the Economic Chamber of Macedonia said.

In a similar survey published on April 20, the Macedonian-German Business Association said that 50% of the polled companies expected a worsening of the economic situation in Macedonia, while only 10% were optimistic that the situation would improve, compared with 21% in the previous such survey conducted last year.

Fifty-nine companies participated in the survey. The ongoing crisis was a reason for companies to assess the current business situation in Macedonia and their forecast for future business as negative.

The greatest concerns were over legal security, payment of liabilities and political and social stability in Macedonia. Also, members of the association expressed dissatisfaction about the measures taken by the authorities to fight corruption.

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