In answering the question of the journalist from Radio Skopje in regard to the latest developments in Croatia and the withdrawal of UNCRO, the head of the UNPREDEP mission in Macedonia Henrik Sokalski said that the changing of the mandate of the UN forces in Macedonia was a difficult question.
To Mr. Sokalski, this is a difficult question in view of the fact that the UNPREDEP operation is independent and determined with a resolution of the UN Security Council, and every time the question of changing the status of an operation in a certain country is raised, the issue is decided by the Security Council.
According to Mr. Sokalski, two conditions have to be fulfilled in order to redefine or change the status of the UNPREDEP operation. "Before all," Sokalski says, "the agreement with the host country will have to be re-examined, in this case, with the Macedonian Government, and second, it is necessary for it to be re-reviewed by the Security Council."
"In this context, I am completely aware about the importance of the interview with the Minister of Defence Blagoy Handziski. We are monitoring the situation and are constantly in contact with the Macedonian Government," Mr. Sokalski said.
The draft-law on local self-management will find itself in parliamentary procedure at the beginning of fall, most probably in September. This system law, which was announced to arrive in Parliament in April, was prepared by the Government during the summer.
On the occasion of the release of the law from government procedure and its transfer to Parliament, Justice Minister Vlado Popovski stated at the recent news conference that all the ministers support the draft-law.
This statement by minister Popovski confirms that the ministers Albanians also agree with the formulations in the law, especially as concerns the terms "majority" which is set at 50% and "considerable number" which is determined at 20%. These percentages are important in view of the fact that the rate of use of the languages of the nationalities in the local self- management will be measured according to them.
More specifically, that means that in municipalities inhabited 50% by a nationality, their language, beside the Macedonian, will be used in the organs of the local self- management, as well as the signs, firms and street names.
In municipalities that have 20% or more of a nationality, their language will be used, beside the Macedonian, but only in the organs of the local authorities.
Whether the law will be passed in Parliament is still uncertain. According to the survey of the coordinators of the deputy groups before the beginning of the summer, SDAM and LP feel that the percentage 33 should stand behind the term "considerable number," while PDP feels that the figure of 20% is much too high.
If this law is passed as proposed by the Government, it would mean that two languages will be used in parallel, in 12 municipalities out of a total of 34. Namely, in Gostivar, Kichevo, Krushevo, Kumanovo, Struga and Tetovo, as well as the four Skopje municipalities - Center, Gazi Baba, Cair and Karposh, where the second language will be Albanian, in Debar, where the second and third language will be Albanian and Turkish, and in Makedonski Brod, where the second language will be Turkish.
A large load of raw materials for the production of household appliances, intended for the Cetin factory "Obod" in Montenegro has been captured in Macedonia, Makpress agency reports, calling upon the news of the Belgrade agency BETA.
This agency reports that the controllers for the implementation of the sanctions against FR Yugoslavia are not allowing the cargo to cross the border.
According to information from "Obod," the 17 trucks loaded with the chemical substance polistirol are in the vicinity of Skopje. At the end, the BETA agency claims that the legal or semi-legal transport of polistirol through the border is not possible as it is an oil derivative, which falls under the constant control of the international controllers for the implementation of the sanctions.
"We are pleased to say that for as long as our mission has been in Macedonia, we have not registered any situations of violation of the sanctions in terms of strategic goods, ammunition and arms," Dermot Jennings, deputy-chief of the Mission of the Sanctions Committee in Macedonia told the Macedonian Radio.
In the news entitled "Macedonia is upholding the embargo," which contains Mr. Jennings' statement for the Macedonian Radio and which is conveyed in the Skopje daily "Vecer," he says that "certainly, it should be said that in terms of strategic goods, the transport of computers has been registered, as well as the transport of fuel, that is petrol, greasing oil, etc."
"We can state that the transportation of these goods is carried out only through smuggling and illegal trade," Mr. Jennings said.
A massive action to gather humanitarian aid for the refugees from Kraina, sheltered in FR Yugoslavia, is underway in the Macedonian Red Cross. The help appeal has gained the support of a number of companies, institutions, organizations and citizens of the Republic of Macedonia.
The Red Cross of Skopje, in cooperation with a number of companies, has provided hygienic materials, food products and clothes for the refugees. The first convoy with humanitarian help will leave Skopje on Thursday.
In the first quarter of this year, compared to the same period last year, exports went up 10%, and imports even 39.2%. Otherwise, according to the Government projections, a 3.1% increase in exports and a 2.1% increase in imports at a nominal level for the entire year was foreseen.
The trade deficit in the first three months of this year was US$ 119.9 million. If this trend continues, the deficit is expected to be US$ 480 million, by the end of the year.
For a longer time already, the Macedonian exporters have been expressing dissatisfaction with the high rate of the denar, and according to them, the insufficient export stimulations. But, according to the Minister of Economy, Risto Ivanov, the situation with the stimulations is not so bad. He informed that for the second quarter of this year, instead of the foreseen MKD 94 million (US$ 2.47 million), the Government decided to give out MKD 150 million (US$ 3.94 million). According to reports arrived at the National Bank of Macedonia, this sum presents a stimulation from 2.4 - 2.5% of the overall nett inflow.
According to Ivanov, the regular stimulations system for this year foresees MKD 360 million (US$ 9.46 million) and they are realized through the Government decision to pay back the customs which include 63 groups of products and 5 groups of productions with the agriculture, where the customs rates are from 10 to 30%. For the first 63 groups from the economy, the stimulations are from 1.4 to 4% of the realized foreign currency inflow of the economic subjects. In average, those stimulations are around 2%.
On the other hand, in the first 4 months of this year, it is calculated that there is a disparity with the Deutsche mark of 4.1%, with the dollar around 15% and the Italian lira of 30%. This disparity falls on the back of the economy.
In order to overcome this situation, minister Ivanov feels that beside stimulation of the foreign currency inflow, there should also be stimulation of the net foreign currency inflow (difference between exports and imports). This stimulation, according to the minister, would have to be somewhere around 10% of the realized net foreign currency inflow, since it is presumed that those who export more lose more than those who import.
It is in the interest of the exporters, according to minister Ivanov, to introduce a limit per system of gross and not net wage per worker, to introduce a system of tax and contributions exemption (except for pension, disability and health insurance) within a period of 2 years, for every new employment.
In the part of the customs, minister Ivanov suggests to continue with the exemption from paying customs, and if full exemption can not be done, then only 30% of the rate is paid, and not 50%. He says that even such exemption of 50% of the rate, still the customs for the raw materials will be the same as for the finished products.
Ivanov is also firm in his previously suggestion to introduce a tax for cash payments by the citizens and legal entities, which would stimulate non-cash payments, and destimulate the cash payments. This would also enable a more complete picture of all financial courses in the state.