Young people in North Macedonia hit hardest by the pandemic, 37% have incomes below the minimum wage

Photo by Christian Erfurt on Unsplash

During the coronavirus crisis, the Government of North Macedonia brought out umbrella policies i.e. an effort to encompass as much people as possible instead of targeted measures for specific groups that were under biggest pressure from the crisis, which would have protected them the  best, stressed Blažen Maleski from the “Reactor – Research in Action” think-tank, during the presentation of the document titled “Young People During Crisis 2.0“, prepared by a group of youth organizations that analyzed the effects of the pandemic on the young people.

“By analyzing the measures that were adopted by the government and the state institutions for preventing the crisis and the damages the crisis has on young people, we came to a conclusion that out of 99 specific measures taken, only 8 cater to the needs of the the young people, out of which 7 were specific and the remaining one was a continuation of the previously existing measure “Buy domestic products,” said Maleski.

As he stressed, by taking into account the other measures, such as the measure for financial assets for accommodation, tuition, IT training, weren’t completely used, which indicates that the bureaucratic process behind them was complex or not all of the young people had access to these measures.

In the document, the analysis conducted by the Association for Research and Analysis – ARA shows that the salaries of the young people have decreased during the crisis. The drop in average monthly net incomes among young people during June, compared to February is 2.6%, while on a nationwide level for all age groups it is 1.8%.

The youth organizations plea to the institutions to take into account the young people as a key group when adopting measures for fighting the health-economic crisis. They recommend that the process of re-employment of the young people should be less complicated and that it should be supported through the individual tax returns and vouchers for domestic spending to those who need it most.

“The education mustn’t be stopped for any child. All necessary conditions for accessing the lectures must be provided, especially for the young people who have no digital devices, who aren’t part of the education system and whose families aren’t financially well situated. Also, distance learning should become more accessible for students with disabilities,” stressed MOF’s Teodora Stolevska.