The effect of foreign investments and the direct criteria are important and it is the main priority that is guided by, answered Jovan Despotovski, director of TIDZ.

“You need to know what is your priority. Cutting ribbons and taking photos while the workers were paid 9000 denars. Or people are your priority. My priority is for the people in this country whose money those companies are to give back. And it is done through well-paid jobs and through the money paid back into the state budget. Currently, almost 18,000 citizens work in the Zones, which is three times more compared to 6,000 in 2016. In the last two years, we have had salaries higher than the national average. If six years ago, these companies paid 10 to 12 million euros into the budget, this year alone, according to estimates, we expect 75 million euros, which is seven times more. We have shown that this is no longer a country of cheap labor, but our main priority is well-paid jobs with which we will keep our children at home,” Despotovski pointed out in the Stadion show, on Channel 77.

For this purpose, TIDZ has launched a campaign “The Future Begins at Home” whose goal is to present job opportunities through the examples of young people who work in the Zones.

“The results of these three years have shown that there is no need for expensive campaigns abroad, but there is a need to show that there are opportunities for well-paid jobs in this country. And all those young people who are thinking of leaving the country abroad and working in the same factory, in the same workplace in Italy or Germany, should realize that the same thing exists here. That’s why we started a campaign that features the faces of young people who are achieving their professional goals here. To increase the visibility of the opportunities offered within the Zones. These are all young people who managed to find a decent living, for a decent salary at home,” said Despotovski.

Regarding the entry of domestic companies into TIDZ, Despotovski said that the Directorate has already reached agreements with two domestic companies to enter the Zones, but the process has been stuck for months, which is why the realization of these projects is being questioned.

“We have reached investment agreements with two Macedonian companies. We sent them to our regulatory body for consideration and we have been waiting for an answer for 8 months. The law allows the entry of domestic companies, but the problem is that we have institutions that do not read laws but are guided by the practice they had 20 years ago. And due to the fact that in the past this was allowed only for foreign companies and they did not have such a practice, they do not act,” explained Despotovski.

He pointed out that domestic companies have the same access to financial support from the state, which has been used by over 900 domestic companies so far, and that last year the total funds paid to domestic companies were higher compared to foreign ones, but he understands the expectations of domestic companies regarding the Zones.

“The problem is that as long as we have a situation in which two or three institutions in a flock of a hundred are trying to push changes, and fifty are blocking the process, we cannot move forward,” said Despotovski.