“Businesses are struggling with liquidity problems, with their current business operations, with the inability to pay their debts. And this goes along to include state institutions. Some are being forced to terminate their contracts or make layoffs because they are unable to continue because of such problems."
But in the second half of last year, growth slowed to 2.2 percent due to investment contraction and weaker credit growth “reflecting political uncertainties,” according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“The economy has endured a number of shocks in the last two years, including a prolonged political crisis,” analysts at the Washington-based IMF said in their most recent report on Macedonia’s economy.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn urged Macedonia’s leaders on March 21 to rise above the political bickering and form a government as soon as possible to break the deadlock with the “economy hurting.”
One Skopje resident who declined to give his name tells RFE/RL that having endured so much turmoil in recent history, Macedonians have become numb to the pain.
“Macedonian citizens are constantly threatened by the financial and economic aspect of these crises. The country is all the time in crisis, from the '90s until today we keep having crises and we keep having problems. The situation just goes from bad to worse,” he says.
The IMF noted that economic growth should accelerate this year, though that forecast came with the caveat of stability following the December elections.
“Despite this forced and artificial political crisis, new investments are coming and the country offers young people favorable conditions to open businesses. I have no fears from it,” he says.