➢ News (19.12.2023, во 15:47:00)
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The Foreign Investors Council within the Chamber of Commerce of North Macedonia presented the "Business and Investment Indicator 2023" from the survey on foreign direct investments in the country with special reference to the current situation, limiting factors, future trends and expectations of companies with foreign capital for the future year.

The results of the survey were presented to journalists, representatives of member companies, foreign embassies and institutions in the country by Mr. Viktor Mizo, general director of "Kostal Macedonia" and the president of the Council, and by vice-presidents of the Council ,Mr. Nikola Ljushev, general director of "Macedonian Telecom" and Mr. Wolfgang Mayer, general director of "EVN Macedonia" .
The survey, which was conducted in the period from November 23 to December 12 of this year, covers foreign companies that are members of the Council with an annual income of over 7.7 billion euros, annual investments of over 400 million euros, with over 38 thousand employees and a share of 78% in the total export of the country.
These are companies are mostly from the production sector (70%), services (20%) and trade (10%) from the USA, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Belgium, Greece, Slovenia, Turkey, Taiwan, etc.

Only 43% of the surveyed foreign investors in the country would make a decision to invest in the country at this moment, and they see the lack of professional workforce, high inflation and corruption, increased energy costs, legal uncertainty, as the biggest risk for the development of their investments as well as the unpredictability of the state's economic policies.

The results of the survey show a relative deterioration of companies' satisfaction with the infrastructure of the location where they operate. Thus, 53% of respondents answered that they are partially satisfied, and 10% that they are satisfied. 37% of those surveyed are not satisfied.
Regarding the evaluation of the satisfaction with the work of the institutions in charge of aftercare services, 56% of the surveyed companies answered that the quality of the services has decreased or is equally unfavorable compared to the past years, explaining that none or very few proposals and recommendations have been accepted by the the relevant institutions.

Regarding the achieved results in the current year, 45% of the respondents noticed a drop in the volume of the planned production as a result of the reduced orders from abroad, the lack of raw materials and repromaterials, as well as the lack of labor. Despite this decline in the volume of production, the number of employees at the surveyed foreign companies in 2023 recorded a growth of 9% or a total of 38,000 employees.
On the labor market, companies have the hardest time finding engineering and technical staff, and the reasons for the lack of manpower are: the outflow of staff abroad, insufficient practical experience and knowledge, and insufficient interest in working in the industrial sector.
On the question of the financial support and state aid they receive, a total of 74% of the surveyed companies believe that new financial measures are needed to mitigate the consequences of the current economic situation, primarily intended for maintaining the number of employees, financial support for increasing the salaries of employees, as well as for maintaining liquidity.

Regarding the issues on which the state should focus in the next 12 months, most of the companies noted:

- the improvement of the infrastructure,
- harmonization of the rules for justified investment costs for state aid and the accounting rules according to international standards,
- harmonization of import customs rates with those in the EU,
- reduction of operational costs in DTIDZ,
- improvement of the tax regulation,
- facilitating the rules and procedure for residence and work of foreign citizens.

The Foreign Investors Council (FIC) is grateful for the cooperation with the competent state institutions so far and indicates the need for even more effective institutional support for the next period.

Vlatko Stojanovski
Associate at the organizational unit for development, innovation, and knowledge