Albania: Borrowing for the recovery from the pandemic to be directed towards Infrastructure and Energy

Albania: Borrowing for the recovery from the pandemic to be directed towards Infrastructure and Energy

Albania’s Finance and Economy Minister Anila Denaj said on Friday that the loan secured by the Albanian government would lead to the recovery of the economy affected by the COVID-19 health crisis.

The Minister also stated that a first estimation was made of the damage caused by COVID-19 in the revenue, estimated to be at 5% of GDP.

According to Denaj, public debt is estimated at 75-80%.

Speaking about the recovery plan, Denaj said investing in infrastructure and energy is the Albanian government’s top priority.

“There is a foreign investment from a French company in the energy sector, worth about 150 million euro, for clean renewable energy in Karavasta. There will be (an investment) the airport in Vlora. Investments will also be made in arteries to better connect cities and rural areas to avoid concentrations in Tirana and Durres, but also to ensure uniform distribution throughout Albania as well as to help tourism, which has suffered the most from the pandemic, to recover”, she said.

The Minister said that policies will be launched to promote the assistance of small and medium-sized enterprises.

“Through the fiscal policy that sets the reduction of the profit tax to zero and the increase of the VAT rate that will come into force in January 2021, we allow small businesses to recover in 10 years. For medium-sized enterprises, we will develop a medium that will be a combination of grants and guarantees, creating programs that can be more effective in preparation, but also in disbursement that mainly targets the company that focuses on automation and digitization”, said the Minister.

Asked about the administrative action planned to be taken against companies that ignore measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, Minister Denaj said that companies must comply with protocols in order to avoid a second lockdown.

As for “wartime” subsidies, Minister Denaj said the first package benefited 65,000 citizens or about 1,000 more than previously planned. The average monthly fund disbursed for this package, she said, is estimated at about 1.6 billion leks. As for the second aid package, which includes the bonus of 40,000 leks, Minister Denaj said that it is planned to benefit about 176 thousand people./ibna