General national economic measures
*small business relief or other financial support
*interest free crisis loans
*company tax relief
*income support for employees
*income support for freelance workers
*unemployment relief for freelance workers
Four economic packages were introduced in 2020 to lessen the negative impact of the crisis.
The total size of the packages was above €1 billion (around 9.0 per cent of GDP).
-Subject to certain conditions, micro, small and medium companies were able to obtain interest-free loans, with a grace period of six months and a repayment period of two years: micro-companies (up to 10 employees) were able to borrow EUR 3,000 to EUR 5,000; small companies (between 10 to 50 employees) were able to borrow EUR 10,000 to EUR 15,000; and medium companies (between 50 and 250 employees) were able to borrow from EUR 15,000 to EUR 30,000. These loans were available from the The Development Bank of North Macedonia.
-In April, May and June 2020 in the tourism, transport and hospitality, as well as for other affected sectors, employee costs were subsidised up to 50% of the average salary paid in 2019 as long as the company kept the same number of employees, did not pay out dividends in 2020 and didn't pay staff bonuses. Companies making a profit in 2020 were obliged to return these subsidies.
-It was possible to have advance payment of corporate income tax in April, May, and June 2020 lifted for these companies, as long as same conditions were met.
-The fourth package, adopted in late October 2020, introduced some novelties such as payment cards for vulnerable citizens and a reduction of VAT on the products and services of artisans and restaurants. The central bank cut its policy rate three times in 2020 (from 2.25 to 1.5 per cent). It also allowed banks to change loan terms faster and through more straightforward procedures, and it extended the time to classify a loan as non-performing from 90 to 150 days by the end of September 2020. (source)
- As North Macedonia is involved in accession negotiations with the Union since March 2020, the country was able to apply to EU funds open to accession countries like the EU Solidarity Fund (the fund was set up for natural disasters and now includes public health emergencies).
In addition, the EU approved assistance for North Macedonia via its neighbourhood programmme (part of its Western Balkans Covid-19 package worth 410m euros). On top of funds for healthcare systems, the EU mobilised up to €62 million to support the social and economic recovery of North Macedonia. How the money was to be spent needed to be co-ordinated with the EU, international and national financial institutions “to support the real economy, including SMEs, and support liquidity, also of the banking sector.”
-RUNDA (the independents music companies association for the region) called for part of these monies to be used to support music and other cultural sectors.
November 2020: International institutions helped to finance the additional costs due to the pandemic. Macro-Financial Assistance from the EU amounted to €160 million, while the IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument was €176.5 million. Other international organisations and some countries also offered financial support to the country. (source)
National measures specific to the music sector or to culture in general
Music sector asked for income support for employees and tax reduction during the period of lockdown.
Covid-19 measures and restrictions in the country can be found on the government's website.
Measures taken by local collecting society organisations
Business and other expected losses
The sector as a whole suffered from income reduction: from event organisations to record labels and employees. This also affected the overall quality of projects, their realisation and services delivery.