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News 10 May 13

Macedonia Brings Back ‘Patriotic’ Receipts

After the constitutional court scrapped them five years ago, the government is re-introducing so-called ‘patriotic’ receipts - which show consumers how much they spent on local products in shops.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
BIRN
Skopje

Photo by: Vladimir Kirakosyan

Macedonia's government has restored the so-called patriotic receipt system as part of a new Law on Cash Payments.

It is being pushed as a way of raising awareness among customers and thus increasing demand for local products.

“This measure is directed toward providing support for the Macedonian economy through greater use of Macedonian goods,” the head of the public revenue office, Goran Trajkovski, said.

Starting from January, retailers will be obliged to issue receipts dividing purchased goods into two categories - foreign and domestic.

The receipts will also bear the same slogan used five years ago, “For our own good - Buy Macedonian products”. They will have to acquire additional software for these receipts or face a penalty.

In 2008, the Constitutional Court deemed the provision unconstitutional for undermining the principle of free market.

“The stimulatory provision, prescribed by the state, favours Macedonian products at the expense of other products on the market, de-stimulating trade with foreign goods,” the court ruled in 2008.

The government of Nikola Gruevski blamed the scrapping of the provision on the opposition, accusing the court for working under its influence.

“Branko Crvenkovski [the Social Democrat head] is using the Constitutional Court to destroy all the positive government projects,” the Prime Minister’s ruling VMRO DPMNE party said.

Some experts at the time warned that the provision contradicted international agreements on free trade and the free market that Macedonia had signed.

One is the Stabilization and Association Agreement that took force back in 2004. Among other things, the agreement envisages the establishment of a free trade zone between the two sides and prohibits provisions hampering imported goods.

The government says the provision is no more than an advertisement and says it cannot be accused of limiting imports.

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