NATO membership and increased budgets each year give us a chance to invest much more in all units and in different specific parts of our Army. We have shown for three years in a row that the defence budgets can grow, which means we can provide better conditions, better working methods, said Defence Minister Radmila Shekerinska during a visit of Army members at the Water Training Camp in Ohrid.
Shekerinska said that over the past few years the main focus has been on everyday things that mean life – on salaries and conditions.
“The salaries in the Army are practically increasing every year. Firstly 10 percent, then 5 percent, then an increase for civilians, an additional 10 percent this year and housing benefits. If in 2017 a professional soldier brought home 20,000 denars, today with the increases and the housing benefits they bring home more than 31,000 denars. That’s a 60 percent increase”, the Minister said. Shekerinska added that the salaries of the civilians in the Army have been increased by about 70 percent with the increase of the salary and the housing benefits.
With the increase of the budgets and revenues, so does the interest in being part of the Army. The Minister informed that in the last competition for professional soldiers for 70 positions, over 700 candidates applied, which enables the selection of the best and most qualified.
At the Water Training Camp the Minister also referred to the procurement of basic equipment for members of the Army, uniforms and boots, for which, she said, the goal is to realize regular procurement and renewal of this basic equipment. She added that three buildings are currently being reconstructed, and that such reconstructions will continue, given that the Army possesses buildings that are 50 to 60 years old.
Shekerinska thanked the members of the Army for participating in the activities related with the state of emergency and told them that as NATO soldiers and officers a lot will be expected of them, but also they will rightly get more and better.