IBNA Analysis / By Ariola Imeri
The World Day of Labor finds Albania this year engulfed by strong debates and political accusations on the issue of unemployment.
The governing majority says that out of 1.1 million Albanians which are considered to be in the work force, only 13% of them are unemployed.
The opposition insists by saying that Albania currently has over 1 million unemployed people.
In front of these opposite figures, both main political forces in the country have prepared their promises ahead of the parliamentary elections which are expected to take place on June 23.
The Democratic Party of Prime Minister Sali Berisha says that during the third mandate, it will employ at least 250 thousand Albanians, should this party win again.
On the other hand, the Socialist Party of the former mayor of Tirana, Edi Rama, says that it has prepared all the projects to employ 300 thousand Albanian people in the 4 years to come, from 2013 to 2017, if the opposition returns to power after 8 years of right winged government.
But why all this game of figures and what is the truth on unemployment in Albania. Does the majority admit that unemployment is an acute social problem?
According to Prime Minister Sali Berisha, “people are right when they complain about the lack of work, about the low wages, about the daily economic difficulties”, but adds that “if there’s a great personal achievement for any Albanian citizen, this has been the immunity that the Albanian economy has shown toward the crisis thanks to the reforms”.
The figures offered by the opposition are the opposite. Mr. Rama says that Albania is being “suffocated” by 1 million unemployed. Rama says that unemployment is very high and cites a report launched by the Bank of Albania, which identifies more than 1 million unemployed people in Albania.
The report includes the population which is fit to work and divides the number of employed people which results to be around 900 thousand people and unemployed people which amount to around 1.2 million.
“This report has been received by the Bank of Albania. The Albanian people must see for themselves as to who the liar is”, says Mr. Edi Rama.
The candidate for Prime Minister, if the opposition wins the elections, says: “Albania has 1 million unemployed people, because Albanians have a government which is not working for their wellbeing, because this government is incompetent, because it’s very corrupt. And in a country when the work force amounts to 2 166 000 and the employed people amount to only 917 000 people, there’s no other choice for criminality figures, but to rise”, says Mr. Rama.
But, Mr. Berisha says that this is a big lie and stresses that: “This is impossible, because the entire work force in Albania is 1 million and 80 thousand people”.
“According to the opposition, only 80 thousand people work in Albania, at a time when education, health and two other public sectors employ over 80 thousand people. The opposition lies in its statistics”, says Prime Minister Berisha.
Nonetheless, Prime Minister Berisha admits that unemployment exists and that it amounts to 13.3%.
Meanwhile, experts from the Institute of Statistics, INSTAT, say that the report is based on the total number of the Albanian population and doesn’t specify if it also includes emigrants.
The number of Albanian emigrants is estimated to be between 800 thousand to 1 million, mainly in Greece, Italy, but also in FYROM, Turkey, Germany, etc.
On the other hand, the latest report of the European Commission, which analyzes the economy of each country in Europe with all the relevant indicators on a quarterly basis, states that Albania, Iceland, Turkey, saw a slow economic growth, but nonetheless a growth, there they didn’t see a recession.
According to the report of the European Commission, the neighboring countries of Albania, such as FYROM, have unemployment of 32%, while Serbia has unemployment of 23%.
The report states that Albania saw a fall of 0.5% in unemployment.
As far as this report is concerned, Prime Minister Berisha says that it was thanks to the reforms of the Albanian government that the country not only managed to reduce unemployment by 0.5%, but the reforms also managed to defend thousands of other jobs.
“Unemployment would not have been 13%, but 18% or 20%, like in the other countries”, says Premier Berisha. /ibna/