The Economics of Tobacco Subsidies in North Macedonia

Skopje – December 9th, 2021

Virtual Roundtable – a zoom webinar

Within the project "Accelerating Progress on Effective Tobacco Tax Policies in Low- and Middle-Income Countries", the research team of Analytica think tank - North Macedonia, organized a roundtable with the aim of presenting the results of the conducted research “The Economics of Tobacco Subsidies in North Macedonia”. The event was organized on December 9th, 2021 through ZOOM platform.

The roundtable was opened by Borce Trenovski and Ms.Tamara Mijovic Spasova presented the main project objectives, activities performed in the region and the goals of the project. Research results for North Macedonia were presented by Tamara M.Spasova, Kristijan Kozeski, Bojana M. Hristovska, Biljana Tasevska and Marija Nestorovska.

The roundtable was attended by a total of 28 participants from different institutions – councillor of the deputy Minister of Agriculture, representatives from the Agency for financial support of the agriculture, representatives the Cabinet of the vice prime minister for economic affairs, Institute of Public Health, Centre for public health, Ministry of Finance, Customs Administration, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour and social policy, Secretariat for European Affairs, General Secretariat of the Government, World bank office in Skopje, representatives of CSOs sector and academia. Representatives of the official institutions had constructive and fruitful dialogue and expressed high interest in the results of the study.

The representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture agreed with the Analytica’s Policy brief recommendations that N.Macedonia should gradually move towards a strategy for reducing tobacco subsidies and hence reducing tobacco production and replace it with another crop. At the same time, the Excise Director of the Customs Administration pointed out that the trend of decreasing tobacco production is inevitable on a global level and that N. Macedonia will not be an exception to this trend. He stressed that N.Macedonia will have to align with EU policies and gradually reduce tobacco subsidies. At the same time, he emphasized that Analytica opened the topic of tobacco subsidies at the right time and that this analysis would open a large space for further discussion among all relevant stakeholders. He emphasized that such evidence based analyses as this particular one by Analytica are a solid basis for the Government to make right moves in the agricultural policy.

Special interest for cooperation was expressed by the cabinet of the Vice prime minister for economic affairs. In general all participants expressed great motivation for future cooperation on this matter.

All this said, the main issues raised by the stakeholders were the importance of reliable and real time data, importance of many more analysis of the agricultural subsidies and the their results; the need for a balanced subsidies policy in the agricultural sector that will results in development of the agricultural sector and promotion of research results.

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