Фото: Бојан Блажевски

The inflow in the central budget of North Macedonia from the environmental taxes is on the rise. In 2019, €219 084 552 were collected in the state budget i.e. a record sum of taxes was paid, compared to the previous years, shows the State Statistical Office’s data.

A year before, in 2018, €209 190 164 were collected, while in 2014, €70 million less was collected in the state budget in comparison with 2019. All the while, the share of the environmental taxes in the Gross domestic product is 1.9%, a level that has been maintained in the past several years.

In 2019, the highest rise of rates of the energy resources taxes was seen in the Mining and quarrying sector. This resulted from the increase of the increased excise duty on the fuels. In 2019, the highest share in the environmental taxes was hold by the energy resources taxes, with 64,6%, which is followed by the transport taxes with 34,2% and the pollution taxes with 1,2%.

Despite the fact that inflow in the state budget from the environmental taxes is on the constant rise, the environmentalists and civic activists have been asking for years why these funds are not spent in their entirety for the protection of the environment.

Contrary to this, the total investments and expenditures for protection of the environment in 2019 were €123.2 million, and the highest share of the invested money comes from the industry and specialized producers which participate with 60.39% of the total sum. All remaining sectors in the country, including the central government and the municipalities, in 2019, have invested only €48.8 million in investments and expenditures for protection of the environment.

According to the available data from the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning’s web site, this ministry’s budget for 2019 was MKD830 970 000 or 13.€5 million. With the amendment of the budget two years ago, this ministry received MKD689 670 000 i.e. €11.2 million from the state budget, while the remaining assets had arrived from self-financing activities, loans and donations.

In the meantime, with the amendment of the state budget for 2021, in July this year, the expenditures for protection of the environment have increased from the initial MKD1.1 billion to over MKD1.8 billion, where most of the increased assets are planned for managing wastewater,, the Ministry of Finance states.

Still, among the main items in the Budget’s amendment, with assets planned for protection of the environment, there are projects that are late with their implementation. One of the main projects that were put in the Budget’s Readjustment is the establishment of a regional system for waste management and closing landfill in the Eastern and the Northeastern region. But the implementation of the tender for the new regional landfill was postponed for the start of 2022.

Among the main projects for protection of the environment is the rehabilitation and the upgrade of the sewer network by building a wastewater treatment plant in Bitola, but even this project will certainly not start this year.