Subject matter of the central part of the IMF/WB Constituency Meeting, headed by the Netherlands and Belgium, which is being held today in Skopje, is one of the most important economic topics of today: “How to Make Capitalism Work for All?”. The event started with an opening address by the Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, followed by speeches by the Minister of Finance, Dragan Tevdovski and the Governor of the National Bank, Anita Angelovska Bezhoska, as well as the executive directors of the IMF and the WB Group in charge of the Constituency, Anthony De Lannoy and Koen Davidse. During the first part of the Meeting, the World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, Cyril Muller, also gave a presentation.
According to the data to which, among other things, the Governor of the National Bank, Angelovska Bezhoska, referred in her speech, the increase in income inequality, starting from 1980, is a global phenomenon almost everywhere, although with different intensity in different countries. Otherwise, in our region, the share of the top 10% in the total income is around 29%, which is less compared to Western Europe. However, following the policies and recommendations of the IMF and the World Bank Group, we should also be the drivers of the processes that should lead to a system more just for everybody.
“As economic policy makers, it is especially important to direct our attention towards planning and implementing reforms for stronger and more inclusive economic growth, which, in turn, would lead to a more equal distribution of income worldwide.” - said Angelovska Bezhoska. She expressed hope that in the near future we would witness a decrease in the income gap and a reduction of inequality in the societies in the countries of the Constituency, which will make them more prosperous and more just. But she also said that this realization requires resolution, commitment and vision from policymakers.
The Governor stressed the necessity and the importance of the discussions at today’s meeting, which will be focused on the potential policies that could be used in fighting off the challenge of inequality at global level - policies that will imply increased access to markets, increased financial inclusion, investment in human capital, financial and regulatory reforms that would strengthen the enforcement of laws and would promote a fair and competitive market environment.
At the opening of the event, it was emphasized that the implementation of economic reforms and the investment in human capital - in health, education and social care, can reduce inequality and achieve a system more just for everybody.
The Prime Minister Zaev expressed his satisfaction with the given honor our country to be the host to this important international event. In his speech, he emphasized that the Republic of North Macedonia, through implementation of economic reforms and successful fiscal policies, is devoted to building a just society with equal opportunities and a strong economy that will give chances for everybody.
"Through the budgetary mechanisms of redistribution of the budget, the funds raised from the fair tax today are used for the payment of higher social welfare by 300%. We have extended the right to use the educational and child allowance from the current 3,000 to over 70,000 children. It is a fair and equal approach of the state to all its citizens. Only through investments and a strong investment in human capital, and especially in children and young people, our economy and state have sustainable and long-term development prospects - said the Prime Minister Zaev.
The Minister of Finance, Dragan Tevdovski emphasized that in the past period, the reforms in the system of public finances and the established fiscal discipline have created fiscal space to increase the investments in human capital.
"Our goal is to invest more attention and finances for investing in human potential. Besides the social reform, we have distributed more funds also for the active employment measures, for the construction of new kindergartens, for which we have support from the EU and the World Bank. Furthermore, we are constantly increasing the funds for health and education, including raising the salaries of doctors and teachers. These are the most important links in the chain, and the weak links create bad students and poor health” - said Tevdovski.
In his speech, the Executive Director of the IMF, Lannoy, emphasized that North Macedonia is devoted to a far-reaching reforms program and is a constructive member of the Constituency. He thanked for the hospitality of our country for the delegates of the fifteen member countries of the Constituency.
The meeting was also addressed by the Executive Director of the WB, in charge of this Constituency, Koen Davidse.
"All member countries of the Constituency will have faster economic growth than the regional average, and the greatest progress in the reforms is that of North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina" - said the World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, Muller.
Subject matter of the Constituency Meeting, among other things, will be the rising income inequality, factors causing this trend, long-term and short-term consequences on the economic growth, but also in several other segments of the society and the instruments and policies available for policymakers.
The meeting is attended by governors, finance ministers and other high representatives of the central banks and the ministries of finance of the member countries of the Constituency and high representatives of the IMF and the World Bank Group, including Poul Thomsen and Vítor Gaspar, directors of the departments for Europe and for fiscal affairs in the IMF, Cyril Muller and Annette Dixon, World Bank Vice Presidents for Europe and Central Asia and for Human Development, and Georgina Baker, IFC’s Vice President for Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe and Central Asia. This important event is also attended by the eminent professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Luigi Zingales, who is the keynote speaker and participant in one of the panel discussions.
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