The project focused on developing a detailed analysis on the main factors that affect the enabling environment for the SMEs in Macedonia. The analysis was based on a methodology developed by the International Labour Organization, implemented in more than 30 countries around the world. Filed work was conducted by our project partners. The produced report was then sued by employers] organizations as a lobbying tool for reforms of the business environment.
The general aim of the project was strengthening cross-border cooperation and improving business relations in the Western Balkans (specifically: Macedonia, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina) by promoting joint leadership, start-up programs, and exchange of information through people to people networks. Project partner organizations were CANSEE – Canadian Serbian Business Association and the Bosnian American Friendship Association ‘RESTART’. The specific objectives of the project included: Increased cooperation and integration of young entrepreneurs; sustainable development through the establishment and growth of businesses by young entrepreneurs, focusing on sustainable sectors and technology; increased co-operation and integration of business networks and innovation eco-systems in the three countries, etc.
The project aim was to develop a Background study on the causes and effects of the high informality and undeclared work in Macedonia, using a holistic approach developed by Prof. Colin Williams and used in the EU countries. The background study was then sued to develop an Action Plan for Combating Undeclared Work which was shared with the policymakers. RCC would provide additional support to the Government in implementing some of the measures defined in the Action Plan (in Macedonia as well as the overall Balkan region).
The objective of the Project is to identify the main reasons why access to finance remains a key challenge for companies in North Macedonia, especially for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). In addition, the Project will explore policy options and potential actions to increase and improve the access to finance. The Project is supported by the ILO, as part of their project on strengthening social dialogue in North Macedonia (funded by the European Union).
The deliverable of the Project is a policy paper for the Economic and Social Council with suggested actions to be discussed in the Council and to be presented to the Government. Specifically, the deliverables of the Project include an analytical report, a policy paper on enhanced access to finance, and a roadmap with concrete recommendations, with the following three elements:
- Why access to finance remains a key challenge for enterprise development in North Macedonia (challenges of the legal and regulatory framework, the financial infrastructure, e.g., credit reporting systems or collateral regimes, and the financial service offer)
- Exploring what to do with regard to primary providers of financial services, enabling environment for access to finance, public support schemes (e.g., credit guarantees, state banks), and specific priorities (e.g., innovation, environmental protection, startups)
- Increasing access to finance: Suggested actions for North Macedonia.
The project combines two methodologies: i) desk research of the existing literature and available primary and secondary data related to the financial system and situation with access to finance; and ii) field research including interviews, survey and focus group discussions with both the supply and demand side of the corporate financing.
During the lifetime of the Project, the new situation with the Pandemic changed the course of action. Hence, the fieldwork was amended with the consent of both parties (the donor and the implementer) and was swapped with a survey of the impact of the Covid-19 on the companies, along with recommendations for the policymakers on policies that may ease the economic and financial burden for companies.
The “Bureaucracy Index” is a simple and transparent quantification of the term ”red tape”, which is mentioned in the media every day, but rarely in any quantitative terms. Globally, there are a variety of indexes and competitiveness rankings methods that comprehensively assess the quality of law enforcement, infrastructure and tax law from a business environment perspective. The Bureaucracy Index was established in 2016 by the Institute of Economic and Social Studies (INESS) in Slovakia. The aim is to determine a comprehensive list and subsequent costs of the bureaucratic burden (in terms of time and financial cost) for small and medium sized enterprises in a given country. The analyzed regulation is divided into 4 groups: human resources (salaries, contributions, employment and dismissal, working hours, etc.); administering operations (taxes, waste, official vehicles, etc.); certification and services (health and safety at work, inspection of electrical installations, fire extinguishers, etc.); and other (archive keeping, post-terminal registration, etc.).
This Project proposes a methodology for calculating the Bureaucracy Index to be established in Macedonia. The “Bureaucracy Index” is prepared in cooperation with domestic and foreign experts from various fields, where for a specific model company all administrative requirements / obligations that the state requests from companies are identified. For each administrative obligation, the required time and financial requirements are determined.
The main objective of the project is reducing the bureaucratic burden of companies in order to grow faster, increase employment and exports and provide an international comparison of the bureaucratic burden, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises.
The project will be focused towards:
- Improving the business climate and environment;
- Supporting company growth, job creation and increased exports;
- Introduction of Methodology for measuring the bureaucratic burden in Macedonia, as well as a comparison of the situation with the new EU member states;
- Plan to reduce the bureaucratic burden for businesses;
- Cooperation with state institutions in developing a plan and measures for reducing the burden; Participation in the creation and decision-making processes, related to regulations for improving the business climate;
- Sharing experiences from EU member states (mainly Slovakia).
This Index is already being calculated for several new member states, such as Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, and some other countries, such as Ukraine. Starting 2020, the “Bureaucracy Index” will be established in Serbia, Finland, Italy and Lithuania, as well.
*The project is supported by Civica Mobilitas. Civica Mobilitas is a Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) project that is implemented by NIRAS from Denmark, the Macedonian Center for International Cooperation (MCIC) and the Swedish Institute for Public Administration (SIPU).
For additional information about the project please contact Nena Manchev, Leadership and Education Programs Manager at Macedonia2025