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Submitted by Sylvia Misik on

I'll try to do the impossible and sit on two chairs (Jasmina's and Wolfgang's) at the same time.

Chair 1: I agree with Jasmina that aid policy is too often governed by fads, short-termism and donor agency requirements/cycles. Case in point: Macedonia, where app. half of all SMEs are in retail, so nothing much gets developed and produced. International aid organizations have undertaken measures to increase the purchase of domestic goods, that may have aided the SMEs, but these companies usually also import a lot. So the can with the difficult stuff gets kicked down the road.

Chair 2: I support your view, Wolfgang, that isolationism is not a good economic path to follow.

But: is shifting the tax burden to consumption without problems? I'd like to see more data on what kind of purchasing power, inequality, etc. the informal economy in the Balkan countries generates and if employees in this sector do even consider 'legalization' (in Macedonia many do not, but I don't know why)... Additionally, at least for SMEs: what about improved access to finance and better repayment terms - and less symbolic politics as regards active labour market measures, employed by local governments and condoned by international donors?

Regards, Sylvia