Angelovska and Bektesi met tourism and hospitality industry sector representatives: The change in the Decree related to the financial support of Denar 14,500 per employee will provide for bringing the laid off employees back to work and preserving the job

30th April 2020, Skopje – Changes in the Decree related to the financial support of Denar 14,500 per employee will provide for bringing the previously laid off workers back to work. Thus, the requirements of the most affected sectors, i.e. tourism, hospitality industry and transport, have also been meet. This was discussed at today's meeting between representatives of the hospitality industry and tourism sector, Minister of Finance Nina Angelovsla, Minister of Economy Kreshnik Bekteshi and the Director of the Agency for Promotion and Support of Tourism Ljupco Janevski.

Minister of Financed underlined that during the meeting with the hospitality industry representatives, the changes in the Decree related to the financial support of Denar 14,500 per employee were presented thereto, by which the funds to be provided through this measure, can be transformed into a grant, after which they can combine it with the measure for subsidizing 50% of the contributions, as well as that they must, when applying for the measure as regards the month of March, to keep the number of employees minus 5%, 10% or 15% according to the company’s size.

As for the requirement for keeping the number of employees on the day when they apply therefor, in relation to March, the Minister pointed out that the companies that have already laid off some of their employees, showed interest in bringing them back to work and that the opportunities for meeting their needs, had already been considered. At the same time, she stressed that they must keep the total number of employees – i.e. those engaged on permanent basis and temporary basis, as well as the seasonal workers.

-We will find a solution and look at the numbers so as to see how many of these employers will bring their workers back to work. In case they do not bring them back to work, if they have a reduced number of employees in March, they will not be able to apply for the measure. Therefore, we seek for a way to get the workers back to work. And I believe that every change is in the interest of the workers since we are keen on protecting their rights. We will take care of every worker who has lost his/her job. Every Government wants to help in bringing the works back to work and preserving the jobs. We will provide them with the necessary means of living. We are only interested in the fact that a systemic approach should be essentially used and that this systemic change is in favour of the workers, as well as the protection of the respective jobs. Angelovska said, also adding that the requirement for keeping the jobs also referred to those engaged on temporary and permanent basis, and when compared to other countries with similar measures, they are more restrictive.

Minister of Economy, Kreshnik Bekteshi, emphasized that the intensive communication with the representatives of the tourism and hospitality industry sector will further continue mostly because of its foreign exchange inflow in the Budget, being one of the most affected sectors by this crisis.

He stressed that due to the fact that this sector showed excellent performance in the past years, it is now necessary to work together in creating and supplementing all measures the Government now takes, but also those which will be carried out during the recovery period.

-What we talked with the representatives of the tourism and hospitality industry sector were the latest changes in the measures for support of the economy, by which, we, as a Government proved that we listen to the voice of business sector and that we are flexible with respect thereto. In line with the overall economic logic in crisis situations, the state should act in a timely manner and be flexible as regards the current developments. The changes in the measure speak in favour thereof. We will take this account when taking the following measures as well , and our main goal is to enable the companies to invest, even upon the crisis, their funds in improving the capacities, as well as promoting the state, which is very important in the coming period, especially for the tourism sector – Bekteshi said.

Krste Blazevski from the Hotel Association “Hotan” expressed hope that accommodation facilities and the hotels, as well as thee restaurants, would be opened soon.

-We will get used to a new life, to some new measures and we expect that they will be adopted as soon as possible. We have agreed thereupon, the submissions for the assistance-related measures are now in progress. Regarding the rumors that there have been layoffs in the tourism sector, I would like to hereby underline that the permanent employees, having many years of experience, have not been laid off, and this may be the case for some of the seasonal employees. If someone has been employed for a period of several months, during which he/she generated no income, will normally abandon his/her job. This number is insignificant, it might be even less than 5% in the hotel and hospitality industry facilities - Blazevski said.

Martin Angelovski, a representative of the hospitality industry sector, said that the hospitality industry representatives would insist on being involved in the process of preparing the rules that they will have to adhere to, when the restaurants are to open. He pointed out that there is greater acceptance of the measures they required from the Government.

 The Director of the Agency for Promotion and Support of Tourism announced that a campaign to promote tourism in the country will be launched through the "Home Sweet Home" Campaign, which will be carried out throughout the year, with all chambers, travel agencies, tour operators in the country.

-It will be aimed at promoting domestic tourism and all the attractions we have at home. In 2019, 51% of the total number of overnight stays derived from domestic tourists, i.e. approximately 1.6 million tourists, and thus, we will strive to reach the same or even higher figure in 2020 -Janevski said.